Please note that we are working towards a new website in the next few months - please be patient if there are any glitches.

Friday 7 May  Issue 2426


Ullapool Book Festival Online

Full details of all the Book Festival online Events are now on the website:

For almost every event we are bringing writer and chair together and having the session filmed Professionally.  Some of these wil take place in Ullapool, others in Glasgow, and one each on the isles of Lewis and Skye.


Ullapool Rotary Club regret to announce the cancellation fof Ullapool Pier Day again this July.

There were just to many unknowns linked to the Covid situation for all involved during the day, charities, local organisations who contribute to the activities to continue to plan with confidence.  Many apologies to all who would have benefitted from the funds generated.

Plans for 2022 will be announced soon.


 The north coast of Scotland is set to host elements of a major UK-led multinational exercise next week, when Exercise Strike Warrior gets underway.  One of the largest military exercises of its kind in Europe, Strike Warrior21, which incorporates Exercise Joint Warrior 21-1, will run from May 8 - 20, with many participating vessels operating off the North Coast of Scotland.


Friday 30 April
 2021        Issue 2425


Congratulations to Ullapool Sea Savers on winning the Environmental category at the Young Scot Awards last week.


Ullapool Library will be operating a Click and Collect Service again

from Tuesday 4th  May 10-12noon


Welcoming Back our Visitors

As our communities look forward to opening up to visitors, family and friends, the good news is that some measures will be in place to help us manage visitor numbers, encourage responsible tourism and help everyone to enjoy and look after this magnificant area.

These include:  Seasonal Rangers; Additional public rubbish collections; Distribution of Touring Essentials in Wester Ross Leaflet; Publicity campaign regarding use of Waste Transfer Stations;  Maps of Local Toilet Facilities in laybys.

These measures have been faciltated by Scottish Government funding to Highland Council.

We look forward to a succesful and enjoyable summer season

Lochbroom Community Council


Friday 23 April 2021        Issue 2424



Now the spring is well and truly here, the garden is crying out for helpers and plants if you fancy coming down to help or just to socialise.

Eilidh and Lesley are quite often there from 12noon most Mondays Wednesdays and Thursdays, weather permitting. Drop by, we’d love to see you! We are seeding the wildlife plot in the next week or two and will be digging it over and removing stones in preparation, and are desperate for help, or moral support.

Tony has been designing and has started, a welcome sign mosaic, as pictured below. There are 8 more panels to do. If any one would like to take on a letter, it’s not for the faint hearted, but it will be part of an amazing art project that will look fantastic when it’s finished and installed in the garden. Tony will give complete guidance, and all the equipment you will need. Phone Tony on 07415 244 047 if you’re interested in getting involved.

And as usual thank you for all your continued support.



Like all the other shops, made in Ullapool will be reopening its doors on Monday 26th April. We are so excited to get back to the business of candle making and to see everyone, so do drop by, if not to purchase, then to say hello.

If anyone would like to get involved with the occasional shop sitting, or would like to join in the workshops, contact Angie, Lesley or Tony on 01854 612702. Alternatively pop into the shop for a chat. Thank you. To everyone for your past and continued support, the shop would be nothing without you. x  


Friday 16 April 2021        Issue 2423


This is a season of change for many, and for An Talla Solais too.

We have new horizons ahead.  After September we are going to lose the use of our Gallery space at the Caledonian Hotel.  Over the past few years the Hotel has been tremendously supportive of us and we are hugely thankful for their hospitality.  An Talla Solais has held many fantastic exhibitions in the space, showing work by artists from around the world.  It has been wonderful to host so many visitors from Ullapool, the Highlands and much farther afield. 

We are very pleased that before the Gallery closes we will be able to show three major exhibitions: our 2021 Members' Show (22nd May to 27th June), followed by paintings by James Lumsden (3rd July to 8th August), and by Susie Reade (14th August to 18th September).  We had hoped to show these exhibitions in 2020 so you will recognise the patience and generosity of the artists in working with us to make the very best of the season ahead.

An Talla Solais is going to regroup back at our powerhouse on Market Street where our work will continue to be inclusive, inspiring and inventive.  We are looking forward to progressing our artistic endeavours there and will look forward to keeping in touch and working with you as fresh steps are taken.

In the meantime our ongoing events (and submissions details for our Members' Exhibition) are listed at and we very much look forward to seeing you soon.


Saturday 17 April 'Dig a Rhodie Day' 10am - 1 pm

Help Welcome Ullapool members clear the Quay Street flower bed (by the tennis court) and take a rhodie home with you for a small donation to Welcome Ullapool Wild Flowers.

The plan is to turn the border into a small wild flower patch with the help of the Primary School, particularly as the rhodies are not thriving here.


Isle Martin Seaweed Festival: 6-12 September 2021

This postponed event is being replanned and developed in order to take place in September, events now mainly outdoors and in different locations, with self guided walks, identification activities, small group talks, demonstrations and exhibitions, plus online events too.

Supported by EventScotland


Friday 9 April 2021        Issue 2422




Valerie Jean


Peacefully at home, surrounded by her family on Sunday, 28th March, Valerie Jean (nee Barnes, formerly of Atworth, Wiltshire now Ullapool) aged 72 years.  Loving Wife, Mum, Sister, Nan and Great-Nan. Will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

Funeral service will take place on Friday, 9th April at Morefield Hotel thereafter to Inverness Crematorium.  Family flowers only please but donations to Marie Curie UK.

Cortege will be leaving Morefield Hotel at 9.45 am and will be passing through Ullapool via North Road, Moss Road, Riverside Terrace, Quay Street, Shore Street then will pause at The Ferry Boat Inn.  For those who are unable to attend the service, a live streaming link will be available at Inverness Crematorium. Enquiries to D.Gunn Funeral Home, Blackwells Street, Dingwall Tel: 01349 863951



ULLAPOOL SEA SAVERS have made the finals of the Young Scot Awards 2021, in the Environment category.

The Environment Award is for a young person or a group of young people who give their time and effort to help protect the world for future generations. This could be related to recycling, global sustainability, ecology or perhaps something else entirely.

Sadly they won't be able to attend the event in person due to covid but that does mean others can come along to the online awards night if they like.

Tickets are free, all you have to do is book your place!

Save the date - April 22nd 2021

Visit to book your tickets!


(Well done, Sea Savers. Eds)


Rowing Machine Challenge

With no opportunity to get out on the water with a crew I had to do something to keep me out of trouble. I have set myself the challenge of doing a marathon on a Concept 2 rowing machine. I'm hoping to do it in under 3 hours which will be a considerable physical and mental test.

Importantly I'm also going to raise some money for Médecins Sans Frontières, a charity providing vital medical care in some of the most difficult situations in the world including war zones and natural disasters, oh and during a pandemic too.

I'll make my attempt this Sunday 11th April starting at 1pm and finishing 4-ish. It will take place in the boatshed at the playing field in Achiltibuie. If you want to drop by and offer a bit of support it would be great to see you (but don't expect too much small talk!).

To donate to the extraordinary work of Médecins Sans Frontières go to my fundraising page or bring a donation along on Sunday don't forget to add the Gift Aid if you are a taxpayer.

Please note that we are working towards a new website in the next few months - please be patient if there are any glitches.

Friday 2 April 2021        Issue 2421


Happy Easter to all our Readers


Fear not people, emergency cake is on its way!

Coigach Cakeaway

In place of the Pop Up Cafe, Coigach Community Hall has a weekly delivery service round the Coigach Peninsula.

If you or a relative or friend, in Coigach, fancy this treat please order by Monday 5th April for delivery on Friday 9th April. 

The deal on wheels includes homemade soup, sandwich and sweet treat. A donation of £5 per meal to Hall funds is welcomed.


Last week this letter was printed in the Ullapool News; since then we have had more information about this mutiny -Alan Britten was home on leave that weekend and briefly on board and Pat and John Regie were delivering supplies to the vessel.  Both with plenty of stories to relate!!


Dear Editor,


Can anyone help with information about the Mutiny onboard HMS Iveston which took place at Ullapool in 1971?

I am doing some research into this incident, which is in connection with a project I am working on concerning other mutinies in the Royal Navy. This one particularly interests me because I met one of the officers, not long after the event, when I was training at BRNC Dartmouth.

Some information has been gleaned from Wikipedia but I am particularly interested in any local accounts and if anyone has any photographs of the ship.

Any information would be very much appreciated.

Stuart R. Fidler

Lieutenant Commander,

Royal Navy (retired)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Friday 26 March 2021        Issue 2420



Clocks go forward one hour at 1am to BST -British Summer Time



“KODA” LOST HUSKY DOG:  Please keep a look out for a young, 1 year old husky dog named “Koda”.   He has brown eyes and a typical snowy/grey husky coat, and is wearing a red chest harness and blue collar (not yet neutered).  

Koda went missing on Monday night (22nd March).  If you have any news or find him please contact Craig Burry urgently on 07817 493855. Thank you.



Following the statement from the First Minister and after taking advice from the relevant authorities we have to announce that our hoped for "live in Ullapool" Book Festival 2021 cannot now take place. We were determined to stay optimistic as long as we could, but that optimism has been shattered. Despite all the Covid precautions we had in place, accommodations and hospitality being opened and no travel restrictions throughout Scotland by that time, there will be no consideration of indoor or outdoor events until 17 May. We are devastated but rules are rules and all of us have been meticulous in following them to date.

So we will move to Plan B.

We will have an online series of sessions instead (with the same guest writers as we would have had at a live UBF) spread over a number of weeks on a set day and time.

Every Wednesday evening at 8pm starting 12 May there will be a one hour session with a writer and chair introduced by a one minute film of Ullapool, different each week. You’ll also get a peek at some of the familiar faces of festival volunteers. The events will carry on weekly in the same running order as on the programme that we had already put up (this will get changed to dates shortly). We will also put up how to buy tickets (£4 each) for these individual sessions once we have this in place.

In the meantime, stay safe and follow all the rules!

With warm wishes from all of us at Ullapool Book Festival

Like sailing the same route it will aye be different and usually none the worse for that.”

Quote from Ian Stephen, one of this year’s guests



Following his unexpected passing on Friday 26th March, our dearly beloved Hector MacDonald will be making his final journey around the village.

For anyone wishing to wave goodbye, he will be leaving from his home at Heatherbank House at 12.30 before travelling along Riverside Terrace, Quay Street and Shore Street on his way to the Church of Scotland.



Friday 19 March 2021        Issue 2419


Clachan Roof Repair: Getting Ready

The 8,000 slates on the north side of Clachan’s roof will be stripped off and re-nailed in April. Fingers crossed that the weather will be fine, dry and not windy for the four or five weeks needed!

Why only the north side? Well, when the roofer repaired the skews last year he advised that it was the north side that needed repair sooner. There are other major works to spend our donation funds on that will transform the whole building, bringing the upstairs into use, so the south roof will have to wait for a while.

Preparations for the roof work have begun. The photograph shows some of the protective covers that have been made for the gravestones nearest the north wall, and bat boxes will be installed by kind permission of Stephen and Margaret Munro in their garden abutting the burial ground.

Clachan will remain available for use throughout the roof repairs. If a funeral takes place, work will stop. If you need to get in touch please speak to any trustee, or ring 01854 655 282, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or message Friends of Clachan Lochbroom facebook.



In July 2022 Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club plans to take a skiff and 50 people including a junior team to the 2022 Skiff World Championship in Kortgene in the Netherlands. We are raising funds to assist the junior team with their travel expenses, and for the skiff's ferry fare.

Following the success of the car wash fundraiser last year in 2020 we are getting down and dirty with the opportunity to click and collect (or have delivered) fresh farm yard manure from Leckmelm Farm which has been generously donated towards our fundraising. This manure is guaranteed to add spice to your salad, tantalise your tatties and bring a feel good factor to any zero food mile produce you may grow.

You can arrange delivery by phoning Topher on 07597568210, or collect from Leckmelm Farm.

Donations can be made through our Facebook fundraising page or given to any UCRC member.

Click and collect available 24/7 from Leckmelm farm. Turn right into farm three miles south of Ullapool. Follow the signs to Lochside cottages and you will see a sileage pit on your right. Manure is in the adjacent bay.”


Friday 12 March 2021        Issue 2418



Margaret ‘Greta’ Stewart passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday morning (8.3.21) at Mo Dhachaidh. Beloved mother to Anne, Rory and Alan Stewart; ‘Granny Scotland’ to Sophie and Neil Darragh, Hannah, Jenna and Rachel Stewart.

The funeral will be held next week in the Ullapool Church of Scotland. Details are currently being finalised. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the service will be limited to family.


Local broch project wins top archaeology award

An ancient broch in Assynt has been named Rescue Project of the Year in the prestigious UK-wide Current Archaeology Magazine Annual Awards.

Historic Assynt, a volunteer-led organisation, is leading the restoration work on Clachtoll Broch, which over the last 15 years has been transformed from a neglected ruin to a fascinating window into life in the area over 2000 years ago. It is one of northern Scotland’s most iconic archaeological monuments. Surviving in places to first floor level – in places over 3m above the bedrock - are the remains of spectacular drystone tower which the work has now made safe for visitors to view.

The most recent work was completed as part of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund as well as Historic Environment Scotland, SSE, The Pilgrim Trust, Highland Council via the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund, and The Robert Kiln Trust. Historic Assynt worked closely with professional consultants AOC Archaeology Group to excavate and investigate the broch and its secrets.

Current Archaeology is one of the best-selling archaeological magazines in the UK, and runs an annual awards programme recognising exceptional archaeological projects. Clachtoll Broch was one of only two Scottish projects to win awards this year. Projects are nominated for awards by Current Archaeology staff, which are then decided by a public vote.

Commenting on the achievement, David Bain, chair of Historic Assynt, said: ‘The support from our partners, and from within Historic Assynt from our Vice-Chair Gordon Sleight, who has given so much time to the broch, has helped us deliver an amazing project and hopefully conserve this wonderful iron age structure for many years to come. But it is the support from our community that has made the difference in winning this award, and we want to thank everyone for voting and supporting us throughout.’

Boyd Alexander, Scheme Manager for Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape, added: ‘the Partnership’s vision is of thriving, working communities within a healthy landscape, who work together to celebrate and protect their unique natural, historic and cultural heritage now and for the future. We are delighted that Historic Assynt’s Clachtoll Broch project, which fulfils so many aspects of this vision, has been recognised for the work that has been done, and the transformation it has brought to this iconic part of our history and culture.’

More information about the broch, and future plans for further work, is available at and at

Friday 5 March 2021        Issue 2417



Dear Editor,

Your readers will be aware that a controversial planning application for 16 chalets, a manager's house and two staff houses sited at the top of Braes road was made recently and 217 people wrote objections to it. Lochbroom Community Council also objected, mainly on road safety grounds.

Transport Scotland have advised me that the sight line to the left from the Braes junction is 60m, half of the recommended 120m for a 40mph road. At 40mph it would take a vehicle on the A835 approaching Ullapool 3.4 seconds to go from where it first becomes visible to the actual junction. Not much time for the Braes vehicle to cross the southbound carriageway, turn right for Ullapool and accelerate to 40mph.

The application has been withdrawn today (Monday 1st March) and all the documents have disappeared from the Highland Council website. Is this the end of the story?

Well actually, no. This afternoon I received the following text from the developer:

"Topher, good afternoon. A note to say we are withdrawing the planning application. This is to allow us time to consider feedback, and hope to take concerns, etc. into account. We welcome the opportunity to consult with the Community Council next week.  Thanks, Laurence Young."

Mr Young will attend LBCC's regular Zoom meeting on Thursday 11th March at 7.30pm to present his plans and answer questions from the floor, if Zoom meetings have floors.

If any Ullapool News readers wish to attend this public meeting and hear what Mr Young has to say, the Zoom link for the meeting will be in this week's paper in the LBCC notification. (See page 6).

Best wishes, Topher Dawson, Chair, LBCC.


Ullapool Book Festival update

Following the First Minister’s statement  on Tuesday last week we are still hopingthat Ullapool Book Festival will be able to go ahead 7-9 May.

The committee is keeping in touch with the relevant authorities and optimism levels are riding high. If we get the go ahead, tickets won’t go on sale until 3 weeks before the festival.

Our Covid protocols* for a live festival are detailed in this week’s UN for those who don’t have access to our website.

The venues will be well ventilated, so bring an extra layer or two. A good dose of optimism, nights getting lighter, sunshine – that will see us through March…

UBF Committee


Friday 26 February  2021        Issue 2416



In this time of uncertainty, it is not surprising that many literary festivals have opted to either go online or opt out of 2021 altogether, but Ullapool Book Festival has always done things differently and this year is no exception.

Organisers of the longest running literary festival in the Highlands have gone to exceptional lengths to achieve their goal of a live festival in Ullapool this May. Should that, sadly, prove impossible, the fallback position is to have all the programmed sessions online. Not over the single weekend, but an event a week for several weeks.

The only other option was to postpone the live festival until later in the year. But that would probably mean colliding with other festivals which would be neither courteous nor practical.

Festival chair, Joan Michael, says, “Everyone’s getting a bit tired of the virtual world. Ullapool Book Festival is about more than bringing great writers from Scotland and other countries. It’s about audiences being here, old friends and new walking and talking round our beautiful village, along the banks of Loch Broom. Being part of a community for the weekend. So we remain optimistic about having a real festival. We have spent a lot of time and effort consulting and putting together detailed plans of how to make a live festival safe for everyone. But if we do have to go online we can guarantee a wee Ullapool twist! ”

Full details of UBF’s Covid-19 protocols and how the festival will operate can be found on the festival website: you can also find the 2021 programme.

A final decision will likely be taken in early April. Either way, it will be a wonderful festival.


A call out to Children Young and old!

The Display box at the Church of Scotland, Mill St will be used next month to celebrate

Mum's and all those like Mums to us!

We need your help in filling our Mother Board!

Please send us your messages of love and thanks to your mums or those special women who have made a difference in your life. Get them to us by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. you can pop them in the prayer boxes at the hardware or the church as well.

Examples - To Pat, my mum, I love you!

or Thank you Miss Thompson for all the times you cheered me up with a homemade sweetie.

Or thank You Ailsa Hercus for loving me no matter how much trouble I got in to.

Please get all your messages to me by Friday, March 5th.

Thank you!


Friday 19 February  2021        Issue 2415



This week’s back page is a PULL OUT AND KEEP (for 2 weeks!) CALENDAR.

See page 21 for details about the calendar and Fairtrade Fortnight

On-line events for all- go to the Ullapool Fair Trade Facebook page or visit 



The deadline for objections to the proposed development on Braes

has been extended to Friday 26 February


All objections should be with the Highland Council before that date.

To view the full details of the planning proposal go to and input the application number into the search  20/05130/FUL


To submit a formal objection, you will need to set up a username and password via the register tab at the top of that page.

Please note there is 10 MINUTE TIME OUT. It is advisable to write your statement before and copy and paste into the comment box!




Taste of What's to Come from Scottish Garden Schemes

Dundonnell Garden

Thursday 15 April 2021;    2-5pm, NO teas

Thursday 3 June 2021;    2-5pm, with teas

Thursday 12 August 2021;   2-5pm, NO teas


Admission £5, children free.  Teas by donations

Also open by arrangement 1st April to 30th October


2 Durnamuck

Saturday 10 July 2021; 11am - 5pm, with teas

saturday 21 August 11am- 5pm, with teas

Admission £5, children free.  Teas by donations


Also open by arrangment from 1st June to 30th September






Allan died peacefully at home on Thursday 4th February 2021 surrounded by his family, beloved husband of Janet and devoted step father to Fraser, Brian and Lewis Henderson, grandfather to Hollie Henderson.

Funeral service will be held in the Inverness Crematorium on Monday 22nd February 2021.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions this will be a family only service.




End of Financial Year

As the latest batch of invoices go out would all advertisers please note that the Ullapool News requests payment within 14 days of the date of the invoice.

We are a small community newspaper and to keep advertising rates and the cost of the paper as low as possible, we rely on the support of our advertisers.

Thank you for supporting your local newspaper during this difficult time. It is very much appreciated.

Sheila, Treasurer


Friday 12 February  2021        Issue 2414



On the 14th March 2021 I will be retiring.  I am unable to take any more work on at the moment as I have a full schedule up to that date.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made Tina and I welcome in Ullapool since we arrived 25 years ago and I’m aware that without your support over the years it would not have been possible to sustain my business.

People have been asking if I will still do the odd job, the answer is no.  I’ll be too busy trying to get my golf handicap down.

Once again thanks for everything over the years.

Robbie Burns





Scotland’s national consumer advice service has welcomed the advice from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on avoiding vaccine scams.

The coronavirus vaccine is free, and the NHS will never ask for financial information, so nobody should share their bank details.

The programme will not send out emails about appointments either and will only contact people by phone or letter.

Anyone with concerns about a vaccine scam can contact Advice Direct Scotland which runs the service for free, impartial and practical advice.

Scams can also be reported via so that information can be shared with authorities.

Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, which runs, said:  “It is despicable that scammers are trying to take advantage of the vaccine programme and preying on anxious Scots.

“Everyone should follow the First Minister’s warning and never supply their bank details in connection with the coronavirus vaccine.

“Scammers are constantly changing their tactics so anyone with any concerns should contact for free, impartial and practical advice.

“Scams can also be reported via our ScamWatch tool so that we can share information with authorities and crack down on this disgusting behaviour.” 




… and I’d choose you

In a hundred lifetimes

In a hundred worlds

In any version of reality

I’d find you 

and I’d choose you…

Kiersten White




Friday 5 February  2021        Issue 2413


COVID-19 vaccination programme continues across NHS Highland

NHS Highland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continues across Highland, Argyll and Bute with 42,755 first dose vaccinations having now been completed (as of 31 January). 

All care home residents, aside from those homes who currently have a COVID-19 outbreak, have been offered their first COVID-19 vaccination with figures showing a 90% uptake rate. 

GP colleagues, who will be vaccinating the majority of the public, have completed nearly 85% of the over 80s group, meeting the target with several days to spare.

Our focus is also on getting all frontline staff their first dose as quickly as possible. As per national guidance, the second dose will be offered 12 weeks following the first vaccination. Plans are already being put into place to allow that to happen.

Dr Paul Davidson, Deputy Medical Director for NHS Highland, explained that this is a massive exercise with the expectation that by the time we reach 05 February we will have vaccinated 10 times more than were vaccinated in December. 

Dr Davidson said: “This is a significant exercise. We are delivering the vaccination across a large and challenging geography, during winter, while simultaneously coordinating variable supply of vaccine products. The challenge really cannot be underestimated but it is thanks to all the staff involved with this programme and the tremendous effort they have put in that we have been able to deliver the vaccine to, as it stands now, 13% of our population.

“Given our remote and rural geography, the majority of the delivery of vaccine to the public will be coordinated by our GP practices, who are ideally located and experienced to do this, given they support our flu delivery programme so well every year.  We will, along with Highland and Argyll and Bute Councils, provide any additional resources and support that they need to do this successfully.

“For our staff in more remote and rural areas the vaccination is being coordinated by local teams. In Inverness we are currently using the Centre for Health Science as a location for larger scale delivery.

Dr Davidson explained that one particular challenge is the contact and scheduling in of non-NHS frontline staff for vaccination. NHS Highland has a dedicated team in place to support this in the South and Mid areas of Highland where the number is largest.

He said: “Feedback from colleagues, both those who are vaccinating and those who have been vaccinated, has been positive. We’re also hearing good feedback from those who have been vaccinated by our colleagues in general practice.

“We know everyone will be keen to get their vaccine as quickly as possible but would ask that you all please be patient. We are working our way through the priority groups and you will be asked to attend for your vaccine by your GP Practice when it is time for your vaccine. Please don’t call them, they will contact you directly for your appointment.”

Dr Davidson added: “Delivery of the vaccine has been exciting to see but it is important to remember that this is only one part of how we can win this fight against COVID-19.

“Protection for an individual following vaccination may take weeks to develop and the extent to which vaccination prevents spread of COVID is still unclear. That is why it is so important that, as well as taking up the opportunity get vaccinated when you are contacted, that we still continue to follow the guidance on how you can keep yourself and others safe.

“Please follow FACTS. Wear a face covering, avoid crowded areas, clean surfaces, keep a two metre distance and, what I would really like to stress, the importance of self-isolating and booking a test if you have symptoms.”



Friday 29 January  2021        Issue 2412


Local Lass is Winner of the SCF Young Crofter of the Year




Helen O’Keefe, in Elphin, Sutherland, has been chosen as SCF Young Crofter of the Year.  Judges representing Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), The MacRobert Trust and the Crofting Commission made their choice from exceptionally worthy submissions. 

Donald MacKinnon, chair of the SCF, said, “We got an extremely high calibre of entrants for this round of the SCF Young Crofter Award, which is generously supported by The MacRobert Trust. It is an inspiration to see young folk doing such a very wide variety of activities on their crofts and they all fully deserve to be recognised for their efforts and enterprises. The judges, representatives of SCF, The MacRobert Trust and the Crofting Commission, certainly found what they were looking for – inspiration, enterprise, commitment and community involvement, in abundance. From the wide range of nominations, all very worthy ambassadors for crofting, we narrowed it down to a shortlist – Adam Veitch from Banavie, Cheryl McIntyre from Skye and Helen O’Keefe from Elphin. But of course there can only be one winner and Helen seems to be some sort of human dynamo!” 

In little over 3 years Helen has increased a flock of Shetland sheep from 6 to nearly 100, a portion of the flock are crossed with a Beltex ram, she sells breeding and store lambs, mutton, fleeces and yarn. She produces and sells eggs, fruit and veg and set up the phenomenally successful online food hub ‘The Green Bowl’ (recently featured on BBC Alba), offering meat, vegetables and fruit from a range of growers from Elphin to Ullapool, Coigach and Assynt. She also runs the Elphin Tea Rooms, a popular tourist stop-off, in which she offers croft produce and home-baking. She serves the township as Grazings Clerk and has been very active in developing projects for various schemes. Helen is known in her participation of training events, the ‘Women in Crofting’ network and is a Soil Association Scottish Farmer Ambassador. And there is more …! 

Chris Hockley, CEO at The MacRobert Trust, said, “The MacRobert Trust is really pleased to continue to support the award for Young Crofter of the Year. We are always keen to help and support young people in agriculture helping themselves and their community through dedication, hard work and enterprise, inspiring others by their efforts as they realise their own goals; this award epitomises all those attributes in a sector so very close to the MacRobert’s hearts.”

Convener of the Crofting Commission, Rod MacKenzie, said, “It is extremely encouraging that there is so much enthusiasm, energy and innovation from the young crofters who were nominated for this award. The Crofting Commission acknowledge the demand from young people who wish to occupy a croft and make a contribution to the sustainability of local communities, local food networks and population retention especially in remote areas of the crofting counties.”

On being notified of her win Helen said, “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award. It's a real honour because I know there are a lot of other young crofters doing incredible things out there. It's great that SCF have this award to showcase the work of young crofters, and maybe help inspire other young people to pursue crofting as a career. Thank you to the judges for choosing me for this honour, and thank you to my township - I couldn't have achieved this award without their help and support - but that's part of what crofting's about, isn't it!

Chris Hockley added, “I know the competition was tight but I am particularly delighted that Helen O’Keefe has won the award – she has such energy and determination and achieved so much in her short time in crofting – a truly worthy winner; many, many congratulations.”

Scottish Crofting Federation


Friday 22 January  2021        Issue 2411



This picture was one of an number cut out and kept from a calendar.  Unfortunately I didn’t keep the covers of the calendar so I don’t know who to credit!

We are including it this week as it seemed very appropriate following the re-printing in our last two issues of extracts from an early copy of the Ullapool News, Issue 59, 23 March 1974 “How the Mails Reached Ullapool”.



Review of Covid-19 restrictions

No changes to current measures.

Current lockdown measures will stay in place across mainland Scotland and some island communities until at least the middle of February, the First Minister confirmed today.

In addition, Barra and Vatersay will move into lockdown from 00:01 on Wednesday following a sharp increase in infection rates. The rest of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will remain in level 3.

Schools across Scotland will also continue to use remote learning until at least the middle of February except in the case of vulnerable children and those of key workers.

During an update to Parliament the First Minister said that although lockdown appears to be having an impact on case numbers, transmission of the virus remains too high to relax restrictions.

Nobody who lives in an area under lockdown should leave or remain outside their home except for an essential purpose like caring responsibilities, outdoor exercise and work that cannot be done from home.

These measures will be kept under consideration and Parliament will be updated following a review by the Cabinet on February 2.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Any relaxation of lockdown while case numbers remain high, even though they might be declining, could quickly send the situation into reverse.

“We believe that the lockdown restrictions - and the sacrifices everyone continues to make - are beginning to have an impact. However, it is important to be cautious.



Organic seed suppliers are currently experiencing unprecedented demand for seeds this early in the year. 

Here’s the present state of four of the main online suppliers:-

(as on Monday 18th January)

Seed Co-operative

Opening for 2 hours a week at random times. You can fill in your email details on a form on the home page and they will send you an alert when their next opening slot is coming up.

Tamar Organics

Website currently closed completely until 25th January. They plan to open two hours daily after that.

Vital Seeds

7am today - Forced to close due to high demand, check daily at 7am to see potential re-opening.

Real Seeds

Checkout planned to open for 2 hours each week as they have a set limit on the amount of orders they can process in a week.

8am today - checkout opened, order quota reached within 20 minutes! 8.23am checkout closed.

All these companies are reporting a proportion of seed varieties have already sold out.

Rosie Christmas 



Friday 15 January  2021        Issue 2410


Ullapool Harbour Trust

Shore Street and Inner Harbour Improvements

Ullapool Harbour Trust, in collaboration with Transport Scotland and the Ullapool Promenade Group, intends to apply to Scottish Ministers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2020 for consent to widen and improve Shore Street to the east of the Harbour, construct a Public Promenade on the seaward face of the improved road, and build a Shore Quay with associated pontoon berths in the Inner Harbour area at the east side of Ullapool Pier.

We will be holding a pre-application consultation event online via the video conferencing application ‘Zoom’. The event will take place on Thursday 4th March 2021, starting at 7pm. The event will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to consider and comment upon the prospective application. Details on how to join the event will be provided on the news page of our website 10 days prior to the event.  If you wish to be emailed event details, please contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to make representations on the proposed development, please contact: Fiona Henderson, Affric Limited, Lochview Office, Loch Duntelchaig, Farr, IV2 6AW, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the 19th of March 2021.

Please note, representations made to Ullapool Harbour Trust or Affric Limited are not representations to the Scottish Ministers. Once the Marine Licence Application has been submitted there will be an opportunity for representations to be made to the Scottish Ministers on the application.

For and on behalf of

Ullapool Harbour Trustees.

Kevin J Peach



Sent in by a reader

Difficult roads often lead to

beautiful destinations”



Friday 8 January  2021        Issue 2409


A Happy & Healthy New Year to all our readers.

Due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions being extended and social distancing regulations, we have decided to leave the winter lights on Market Street illuminated to brighten the spirits of the village for a little longer this year.

Lodge St Martin.   No 1217


Thought for the Week sent in by a reader

If you want 2021 to be your year; Don't sit on the couch and wait for it.

Go out.  Make a change. Smile more.  Be excited. Do new things.

Throw away what you've been cluttering.

Unfollow negative people on social media.

Go to bed early. Wake up early.

Be fierce.

Don't gossip. Show more gratitude. Do thing that challenge you

Be brave.


Friday 18 December 2020        Issue 2408


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

from all the Ullapool News Team.

next issue on Friday 8th January

(deadline Tues 5th 1pm)


New Local Book Published

The Lairds' Own Country?   by Don Shaw

This little book was written duting lockdown as a tribute to the history and communtities of this area.  The journey followed in the book is a bit of a historical antidote to a certain famous route, taking you through time as well as landscape, visiting scenes of important historical moments along the way.  Obtainable from Ceilidh Place Bookshop, Inverbanks Newsagents Lochinver, Achiltibuie Stores. or visit 


Friday 11 December 2020        Issue 2407



If you get a chance, get along to the Garden of Reflection and take a look at the amazing stag Tony made, also we have a few lights around the garden.

Lastly raffle tickets are still on sale in MIU or from Eilidh for the hamper - which is fantastic this year, thanks to the generosity of the community.





Achiltibuie Primary School Parent Council would like to thank Highland Industrial Supplies Inverness for their generous support for the children's wellies and waterproofs. 

All the pupils have half a day of Outdoor Learning (provided by Coigach-Assynt Living Landscapes Programme) each week, and being properly kitted out will make it all the more enjoyable! 

HIS donated waterproofs for each child, and gave us an excellent price on the wellies. 

Thanks, too, to Tanera for their help getting the kit back to the village.2407ach



Friday 4 December 2020        Issue 2406



Personal greeting for Christmas and New Year will appear in 18 December issue - free as linage only.

Please send in your personal messages & business opening times as soon as possible to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or business greetings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop them into the office in Market Street.


One of the series 'Bird of the Week'



Good News from St. Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Church

We are very pleased to announce that we now have a new Priest-in-Charge of the Northwest Coast. Her name is the Rev’d Dr Clare Caley and she was previously Assistant Curate at St. John’s and St. Michael and All Angels in Inverness.

Before Ordination Clare was a teacher at Gairloch High School and a member of the St. Maelrubha’s Poolewe congregation.

She will be living in the church flat and we know she is looking forward to living and working here in Ullapool.


Remember you can get a postal subscription to our weekly paper

The perfect Christmas Gift !


Friday 27 November 2020        Issue 2405


The Ullapool News Christmas Edition will be on sale on Friday 18th December

DEADLINE: Tuesday 15 December

 The Christmas edition, published on Friday 18 December will be the last Ullapool news until Friday 8 January 2021 so it will include as much information as possible for locals and visitors to cover the 3 week period.

Business opening times and seasonal greetings will be published free of charge as lineage in the 8 December edition.

Personal greeting for Christmas and New Year will also appear in 18 December issue -also free as linage only.

Please send in your personal messages & business opening times as soon as possible to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

or business greetings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

or drop them into the office in Market Street.


Well done to Poppy Lewis-Ing & Finlay Pringle who were both shortlisted for the new Marine Conservation Society Young Ocean Optimist of the Year award.  This award is open to any young person under the age of 25 and the winner this year was Georgia Bull for her photography and film work about the marine environment.  Having two local young people in the short list is amazing given the calibre of all the entrants.


Friday 20 November 2020        Issue 2404



Flu Vaccine update: 

We have taken delivery of further limited stock which will enable us to vaccinate those who are under 65yrs old and who are in an "at risk" category.  This category includes those with diabetes, asthma, heart disease etc. 

We have a clinic arranged for

Thursday 26th November from 9.15am.  

Please call reception on 01854 612015 to book an appointment. 

If you are unsure if you are in an "at risk" category please call us to confirm. 

Unfortunately, we are still unable to confirm a date for the 55yr-64yrs age group cohort of patients but keep an eye on our Facebook page, website and the Ullapool News for updates. 




Ullapool Village Hall is now taking bookings for it’s Annual Xmas Markets

1. Tuesday 8th December 12 noon - 6pm             Cost - £15

2. Friday 11th December 5pm - 7.30pm

 Saturday 12th December 10am - 3.30pm                         Cost - £20

Please note the number of tables is reduced due to social distancing so we expect them to go quickly.

All Stallholders MUST be able to stay for the whole time of their chosen market and only one stallholder will be allowed per table.   Please note that all doors and windows will be open to allow for ventilation, so please dress warmly.

There will be no teas or coffees due to the pandemic.   As space is very tight there will be NO extra tables/rails allowed unless agreed beforehand and if you need an electric socket please let us know in your email.

Set up time will be 1 hour before the hall opens to the public.   Face coverings will need to be worn by Stallholders and customers at all times.    

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a table.


Friday 13 November 2020        Issue 2403



Local Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team welcomes two talented Ross-shire sisters onto their Team but they might not be who you would expect to find you when lost on a hill.

Meg and Rona, Collie dogs, born from the same litter, grew up in their respective homes of Dingwall and Ullapool and have trained for the last year and half with Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland (SARDA).

Their owners, Alison Smith and Steve Worsley, are members of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team and both dogs and handlers have now qualified to join searches for missing people across Scotland. Whilst for Alison this is her first Search & Rescue dog, Steve has been a member of SARDA for 14 years and his experience means Rona is his third dog to join him on the hills.

The dogs train closely with Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team, covering some of the wildest and remotest terrain in the country. This also includes the challenge of working alongside helicopters from HM Coastguard in Stornoway and Inverness.




Further to our previous letter, Heidi and I are still looking for new guiders to take over from us. Brownies and Guides have been active in the village for a long time - it would be such a huge loss if they have to close.

The pandemic has affected all of us more than we would like to acknowledge and Girlguiding nationally is taking a big hit. I’m sure it will survive, here and elsewhere, and it will be a great opportunity to move on with new enthusiasm.

So, this is an appeal to those of you who might have been, or know, a brownie or guide to seriously consider volunteering and helping the Brownie and Guide units to continue here in Ullapool.

Please get in touch 01854 612568 or 01854 612164

Thank you, Fran (Harrison)


Please note that the Ullapool Guides will still provide the local Christmas card delivery service this year.  Details to follow.


Ullapool Garden Of Reflection


Tickets for the Christmas Hamper are available in Made in Ullapool. Proceeds will be split between UGOR and The Highland Hospice. Please drop in and get a ticket (£1 each) and support these good causes. On another subject, thank you so much for all the donations of plants and garden equipment, We are so grateful. We are still working at the garden from 11am on fine weather days. Please come down and join us, it’s so therapeutic and we would love to see you.


Friday 6 November 2020        Issue 2402


Apologies for the late arrival of this week's front page. 


An Talla Solais Members Exhibition 2020

Online at



New weekly art project from an talla solais

You are invited to sign up for our new art project.  Each week a new art activity will be posted for you to do in your own home through the winter months.  Trhere will be diverse activities created by a Kaleidoscope of artists.  All are welcome to joni and you can do as few or as many a you like.  Sign up for our weekly email on our website.


Friday 30 October 2020        Issue 2401



High Life Highland youth work team and active schools are going to be renting the hut at the back of the village hall which has been used for kids after school group for several years and for those who remember 20+ years ago when it was funded and built as the Youth Coffee Bar.   This will be used solely for youth groups, with all Covid-19 safety measures in place.

The aim will to be for it to be staffed by trained youth workers during the day and evenings for drop-in sessions as well as group work. Youth work age range is from 12-25 and the plan will include support for young adults.

In the beginning it will start with small groups or 1 to 1 and will not be open every week day and night, but we hope it will lead to that and create more employment especially for young people.

We are setting up a committee and hope to have it run as a voluntary organisation. Are you interested in being on such a committee?  The day to day running would be done by High Life Highland staff and volunteers. It would be helpful to have a local committee for ideas, support and funding bids.

Training and guidance on being on the committee would be done by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.   It would be great to hear thoughts on this and if anyone would be interested.

All youth work activities are youth led and we have a very active youth forum which members of that would form part of the committee. If you want to be part of this exciting new opportunity please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There will be an online meeting 4th November at 7pm and I will send meeting link out to all who get in touch


Yvonne Boa, Youth Development Officer



As from Thursday 29th October and until further notice, the library will operate a CLICK & COLLECT only service.

To make use of this service please call the library on 613522 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. between 10-12 Monday to Friday to book an afternoon slot for collecting/returning books.

Please note that collection will be from the fire door at the front of the building and a face covering must be worn.




Friday 23 October 2020        Issue 2400



Maree Todd, currently a list MSP for the Highlands & Islands, has been confirmed as the SNP candidate for Caithness, Sutherland & Ross in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

See page 21 for full report.   Well done, Marie…! Eds



SNP MSP Gail Ross has encouraged projects in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross to apply for a new £1 million fund, which has been launched by the SNP government to help promote town centres and online businesses and encourage people to spend locally. 

Grants of between £500 and £5000 will be given out as part of the Scotland Loves Local scheme, which aims to enable visitors and residents to safely shop, eat and relax within communities.

The funding aims to support small scale improvements that will help motivate people to shop, eat and relax within their community whilst ensuring public health safety, and can be used for measures such as protective screens, physical distancing markers, hand sanitising equipment and PPE.

Speaking recently Gail said:  “We all have a role to play in Scotland’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s now more important than ever to consider shopping locally and supporting the brilliant local businesses in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross

“The Scotland Loves Local campaign - which will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 - encourages people to think how they can safely support people to shop, eat and relax within their community whilst ensuring public health safety.

“This £1 million fund, delivered by the Scottish Government, is an exciting opportunity for local projects and locally-based online businesses to support town centres and promote their local community. 

"This new fund will be a real boost for communities across Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.



Sent in by a reader

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:


Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.

Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;

The result being that he does not live in the present or the future;

He lives as if he is never going to die,

And then dies having never really lived.


Friday 16 October 2020        Issue 2399



 Works started Tuesday 13 October for six nights

Overnight road closures in place for safety,

8pm to 7am

Road users on the A835 through Garve are set to benefit from an improved road surface as works started on Tuesday. 

The £190,000 investment by Transport Scotland will see improvements to a section of the A835 place between the Garve Hotel and A832 Junction, creating a safer and smoother journey for road users as well as reducing the noise impact on the surrounding residential area.

The overnight improvements are scheduled to get underway on Tuesday 13 October and are expected to take up to six nights to complete. The project will take place between 8pm and 7am each night with work due to be completed by 7am on Wednesday 21 October. No work is programmed for Friday or Saturday nights. 

Due to the narrow widths throughout this location, the A835 will be closed in both directions during working hours to ensure the safety of both roadworkers and motorists. As there is no suitable diversion route for this section of the A835, vehicles will be held at either side of the work site until they are able to be escorted safely through the roadworks during set amnesty periods at 9pm, 10pm, 12am, 2am and 4am. Motorists are encouraged to arrive prior to these times to ensure they are accommodated within the amnesty period.

Traffic management will be removed outwith working hours, however a 30mph speed limit will be in place as traffic will be travelling over a temporary surface.

Access for local residents and businesses will be maintained during the project and emergency services will be able to pass through the works at all times.

Consultation has been undertaken with local residents, businesses, the local authority and emergency services to make them aware of the works and the traffic management arrangements that will be in place.             

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West representative, said: “The overnight closures at Garve are essential for ensuring the safety of roadworkers and road users due to the narrow widths of the road. We’ve taken steps to limit the overall impact of the project by carrying out as much work as possible overnight and avoiding working on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Our teams will do all they can to complete the works as quickly and safely as they can, and we thank the local community and road users for their patience in advance while we work on these projects. We encourage motorists to plan ahead before setting out by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up to date travel information.”

Real-time journey planning information can be obtained by visiting, twitter at @trafficscotland or the new mobile site



Closing Down Sale notices have gone up in the windows of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill & West Highland Woollen Co. on Shore Street, Ullapool.  This is a real blow for the area and all the staff involved.  Both companies are owned by billionaire Philip Day whose business portfolio also encompasses well-known brand names such as Peacocks, Bon Marche, Jaegar, Austin Reed and Jane Norman.  

Edinburgh Woollen Mill and WHW Co. were put into administration at the weekend with staff being given very little notice that this was to happen. Hopefully a buyer can be found.

It is always a pleasure to visit these shops which are so popular with both visitors and locals alike as not only are the clothes reasonably priced but all the staff are very helpful and invariably cheerful.  A great loss.


New Book

Scoraig - A Peninsula and its People

by James MacGregor

In this wonderful book, James MacGregor honours the memory of the people who lived on Scoraig up to 1963. During that year the last of the original community left the peninsula, and with surviving members now elderly, this book is timely. The old days are fast becoming history and were in danger of being forgotten in years to come, but now James has preserved their memory brilliantly.

He has shone a light on the Scoraig people and all aspects of their lives down through the generations, and in so doing he has also illuminated the history of the wider Gàidhealtachd.

The book’s poignant last chapter is called ‘The End’, but before the final exodus in the mid-20th century is described and explained, there is a wealth of fascinating information about the lives of earlier generations.

Would that every Highland community that has been abandoned down the ages could have had such a magnificent record for its epitaph, penned by a descendant of the original people.

There is not one dull sentence in more than 800 pages. The book is so easily readable throughout that it is hard to put down. The range of illustrations is extraordinary and the research stunning. The book also sits easily in the hands, despite its length.

The book has been written to honour a community, a people, and their way of life. It is a moving tribute and an amazing achievement, coming just a year after James MacGregor’s equally brilliant On the Yachts, which he co-authored with Robbie Mackenzie.

The old Scoraig community is no longer at risk of being forgotten, thanks to this superb book.

Scoraig: A Peninsula and its People

is available from The Ceilidh Place bookshops.

Price £35 and worth every penny.



Friday 9 October 2020        Issue 2398


2398badcaul quilt


Over lockdown we tried to have joint school projects between Scoraig and Badcaul Primaries, one of these was creating a quilt as 'Little Loch Broom Schools'.

Everyone was given a square of fabric and asked to decorate it, showing something that made them happy. The squares have now been expertly combined to produce this stunning quilt which is even more beautiful than the photograph shows.

Huge thanks from the schools to everyone involved. Creativity is one of our school values and this is so wonderfully creative, showing how such different ideas can come together to produce something this special.

Helen Love, Cluster Head Teacher, Badcaul Scoraig Primaries



You have asked who was J R Matheson.   His predecessor was Gordon Davidson who left in1950 or thereabouts to take up a headship in the Orkney Islands.  

James R Matheson was a native of Ullapool who had kept the old family home in Custom House Street and came back to it for holidays. My understanding was that he had graduated from Glasgow University and was teaching latterly in Basingstoke before his planned retiral.   But with Gordon Davidson’s departure he saw that there was a vacancy in his old school and applied for the post to teach Mathematics and Science.

He had his own peculiarity of discipline in that an offender was given a punishment exercise of being required to multiply a set of numbers by cubing these ie take 320 multiplied by 320 and multiplied by 320 again thus cubing the original number and showing how it was done. The idea was that sinners should spend time working out the numbers from a set of numbers. He was a good teacher and took a warm interest in his pupils but in the Ullapool fashion his nickname of “Cubes” was coined and stuck to him. 

He was also a useful historian of village life when he was a boy and his many contributions to what had happened then were interesting and valuable pictures of fifty years before when he was growing up in the village.

Kenneth J B S MacLeod


Friday 2 October 2020        Issue 2397



Wee Mo’s husband Robert, places a leaf on the Memory Tree in celebration of her life.




A number of people have said how much they are enjoying the extracts from early copies of the Ullapool News.

One question that has been asked is who was J.R. Matheson? We have heard that he might have been a Maths teacher at the school, known by his nickname of “Cubes”..!   Is anyone able to confirm this..?

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Ullapool Harbour Trustees Community Fund

Ullapool Harbour Trust allocates 2% of gross profit to stakeholder initiatives annually. The fund is allocated on a quarterly basis with applicants submitting a written request for consideration by the Trustees. The application should contain a brief outline of the project, total cost, other funding avenues explored and timeline. Applications will be assessed by the Trustees at the end of each quarter with the funds allocated accordingly. The ethos of the award scheme is to fund local organisations and youth projects with an emphasis on community enhancement.



The Ceilidh Place Opens New Glass Room

Long-standing customers may shed a tear at an unfamiliar sight….

What, no buckets?!”


Friday 25 September 2020        Issue 2396



By now, we had hoped to be able to re-open the hall and welcome back our regular user groups, markets, sales and other events but regretfully, under the present circumstances, we feel it would be irresponsible to do so. We have a duty of care towards our employees, volunteers and hall-users and do not want to put anyone at risk so the hall will remain closed at least until after the October school holidays when we shall reassess the situation.

We would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Joan Michael, who recently stood down as a Hall Trustee. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of Ullapool Village Hall Association as Trustee, Committee Member and Chairman over many, many years and has organised numerous successful fund-raising events such as Christmas markets and Hogmanay Ceilidhs (alas, another event which has had to be cancelled this year due to covid-19). We fully intend to organise a presentation for Joan but this has had to be postponed until it is once again safe to have a gathering in public.


In Memory of Loopallu

2005 - 2019

"The Little Fest in the West"

Beloved festival, end of summer party,

starter of lifelong friendships and so much more.

Loved by everyone

you'll always be remembered for the happiness,

the smiles, and fun you bought us.

With love

Ullapool x



The Screen Machine is back on the road!

Watch this space for info on its next visit to Ullapool.

Please note, there is room for only 20 to be seated, in line with Covid restrictions.


Friday 18 September 2020        Issue 2395


We would like to say a big THANK YOU to magician Dulcie for coming to our rescue when our email server went down at the weekend.

UN Team



Happy 90th Birthday Dad & Grandad (Aldy) 

15th September 1930

Love from all the family Xxx

(and from all of us at the Ullapool News - we wish you a VERY HAPPY 90th Birthday, Aldy)


Ullapool Christmas Tree Festival 2020

Regrettably it’s not possible to hold the Festival this year, due to the on-going and increasing restrictions to support public safety and well-being.

What a pity! – because last year’s Festival was a fantastic celebration of Christmas joy, hope, love and creativity. Hopefully, the Festival will be back in 2021 – let’s hold on to that.

Here’s a thought. How about decorating a tree and placing it in your front window, or, if you have outside lights, in your front garden?  In that way, as folk walk around the village, they will see individual beacons of hope and light during the dark and uncertain days before us.   M Newman


LIVESTOCK for sale - French Bresse X cockerel.  6 months old.

Good with the ladies, voice of an angel.   


Friday 11 September 2020        Issue 2394


Ullapool Fire & Light

We doubt that it will come as a surprise that we’ve had to cancel the arrangements for this year’s Community Bonfire & Fireworks Display.   Back in 2021!

The better news is we are planning to go ahead with the Winter Lights, maybe on a slightly restricted scale but definitely with the Creel Tree.

We might not be able to hold the big ‘switch on’ but will do our best to bring some brightness and cheer to the village which might be very welcome by December.

The Fire & Light Team



is back in action!

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September


BOOKING essential, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text/call 07740 152237

10am – 4pm (last ferry out 2pm)

Covid safety measures in operation.

Please visit our website for more details at

and follow us on Facebook for weather and POP UP café updates.

Many thanks to the UCT Community Benefit Fund which allows us to offer a reduced rate for local residents only £2 per person! and a FREE ferry for Volunteers.



Last Friday a fire broke out on Eilean Eachainn, one of the Loch Maree Islands, started by a campfire with those responsible nowhere to be seen. Finally with the help of Gairloch Fire Service the blaze was got under control. In Scotland we are privileged to have great access rights - however with this comes responsibility. The outdoor access code gives clear guidance on lighting fires and other access issues. "Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods or in areas such as forests, woods".

The Loch Maree islands are home to some of the most pristine ancient Caledonian pine woods in Scotland and we can all help keep them that way by following the outdoor access code and acting responsibly and with respect for the environment. Thanks to Gairloch Fire Service, Gairloch and Letterewe Estates and other reserve staff for all their help.


On Saturday 5 September a vast shoal of sprats appeared in Loch Broom - they were being pushed into the shore by feeding mackerel, who were in turn being pursued by hungry seals. This was an amazing sight… We hope to have a full report by the Ullapool Sea Savers in next week’s issue.

Friday 4 September 2020        Issue 2393


S3 At Ullapool High School Make A Start on the 2020 Youth Philanthropy Initiative

This week pupils in S3 got started on YPI for 2020. They are starting in an exceptional year under, what we can all agree, are challenging circumstances. On top of that, this is the school’s 4th year of YPI, so this year there is an expectation that some of the £3000 cheque which will go to a local charity, later in the year, will be raised by the pupils themselves. Previously, the entirety of the £3000 came from Sir Ian Wood’s Wood Foundation. In recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on school activities, the pupils are only being asked to raise £250 this year, instead of the more usual £500.

The pupils decided one of the simplest things they could do that taps into people’s desire to garden and to be better connected to nature, was to pot on and sell some of the baby plants from the schools greenhouse. They have been working hard on potting them up and each one has been adorned with a special message for the purchaser. At an affordable price of £2.00 per plant we think it’s a simple way to help bring nature and the benefits of houseplants into your home.

The Royal Horticultural Society says the psychological benefits of indoor plants have been shown as:

  • An improved mood
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Increased worker productivity (adding plants to office environments in particular)
  • Increased speed of reaction in a computer task
  • Improved attention span (in some scientific studies, but not all)
  • Increased pain tolerance (for example, where plants were used in hospital settings)
    • The physical health benefits of indoor plants have been shown as
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced fatigue and headaches by 20-25 percent in one study
  • Patients in hospital rooms with plants reported decreased post-operative pain.


If UN Readers would like to buy a plant or two, please phone the school on 01854 612078 and we will arrange for plants to be left for collection outside the front door, with an honesty box for payment.


Ullapool VIRTUAL Flower, Craft & Produce Show 2020

We’d like to thank everyone who entered this years VIRTUAL show especially all those first time gardeners. We couldn’t do it without your support!! And all our fantastic judges too.  Hopefully we’ll be back next year with a REAL show!!

Meanwhile check out our fb page for a link to this years show photos & placements.

Congratulations to all the winners. Eds


Friday 28 August 2020        Issue 2392



Congratulations to Hardie Crawford on winning a place in the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland. 

We're so enormously proud of what you've achieved. Your hard work and determination to keep challenging yourself has paid off and when the development band begins to perform in public and travel the world again we hope you enjoy this wonderful opportunity. 

You deserve every minute. 

Mum, Andrew, Decca and all your family xxx

PS Our thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged Hardie's playing over the years from his tutors and the Ullapool & District Pipe Band team to Ullapool Harbour Trust and others asking him to play publicly. Also to our various neighbours who have kindly let him know they have enjoyed hearing what is a pretty loud instrument. 





We have a section of Fairly Traded products, usually on sale in Ullapool Parish Hub’s “Fairtrade Pop-up Shop”, now available from The Unlimited Colour Company in Argyle Street, Ullapool. 

We are indebted to Liz Cotton for allowing us to sell through her shop whilst we are still unable to trade from our own premises. 

Please pop in and see what's available. We are planning a re-stock if this proves successful - including Chocolate!



Friday 21 August 2020        Issue 2391



Ullapool High School - Youth Philanthropy Initiative 2020

Readers may be aware that over the last 3 years, S3 pupils from Ullapool High School have participated in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative with the objective of becoming philanthropists themselves, supporting small local charities and pitching to win funding for their chosen charities in a “Dragon’s Den”-style event each year, whilst also developing their own work-related skills. The winning team secures £3000 for their chosen charity. Beneficiaries of YPI at Ullapool High School have so far been Ullapool Befrienders, CRY and Assynt Mountain Rescue.

From the fourth year of programme delivery, schools take responsibility for a minority portion of the  YPI Grant, usually contributing £500. This year we are only being asked to contribute £250, in recognition of school closures during lockdown. S3 pupils will be aiming to undertake some fundraising over the next 4 weeks to try to raise the school’s contribution to the £3000 total.

We will be using Ullapool Community Facebook pages as a shop window for our activities e.g. selling plants and auctioning items we have upcycled, as Covid-19 restrictions make it difficult for us to run our own “shop”. 

YPI activities in school will kick off properly later in the autumn and we will keep you posted on our YPI journey this year. We hope you will support the pupils' efforts as they try to raise money that will ultimately go to small local charities.

Thank you very much!

Rosemary O’Leary

Ullapool High School





Serve Our Seniors have been doing bingo online over lockdown and as it will be a while before the group will be able to meet physically, the online groups will expand. 

If you would like to join in or know someone who would like to get involved in an online group please contact 

Mike Newman (01854 612635) or Effie MacLean (01854 613710).

For assistance on getting online please contact myself either on Fb or call 01854 612789.

Yvonne Boa



Ullapool Gaelic Nursery 

would like to thank the Ullapool Harbour for helping to move our play house and mud kitchen to our new nursery. 

We really appreciate it, you are all fantastic. 

Tapadh leibh 

Sgoil Araich Ulapuil 





Friday 14 August 2020        Issue 2390



Loch Broom Royal British Legion Scotland are pleased to confirm that we are laying wreaths on Saturday 15th August,11am prompt at the war memorial in Ullapool.

In addition to VJ Day & St Valery wreaths being laid we will also be laying a Burma Star wreath which is of particular significance to present and past members of our community.

In attendance will be the Lord Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty who will also lay a wreath.

All are welcome to attend and please respect whatever guidelines if any are required on the day re COVID 19.

Thank you.



Motion approved calling on Scottish Government support to tackle ‘uncontrolled camping’

On 3 August, members of The Highland Council agreed the following motion to Council:

“Many areas of the Highlands are being adversely affected by a huge increase in uncontrolled camping. This may or may not improve with the opening of camp sites. Future demand from "staycationers" may well outstrip any possible supply of campsite spaces.

“The public health risks from this increase in camping during a pandemic must be addressed with urgency. Steps that may be taken to reduce public health risks include increase waste collections, better traffic management, restrictions on alcohol consumption, and financial support for beach or countryside wardens, temporary toilet and handwashing facilities. Highland Council commits to use its resources where practicable and affordable to support such steps and calls on the Scottish Government and its agencies to work with us.”

Members also approved two additional amendments to the motion:

“Visitors to Highland have been asked to respect the environment and the destination that they are visiting, and this message has been raised repeatedly by the Tourism Minister and his Scottish Government colleagues, Visit Scotland, Police Scotland and communities. It is very sad that the actions of a minority are having an impact on the rest of law-abiding people.

“The Scottish Government have dedicated marketing campaigns and guidance for people looking to enjoy the outdoors or a “staycation” safely, including compliance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC).  This, of course, is staple to maintaining and enjoying the beautiful landscape and sights that we all enjoy across our region.

“The Council has put into place certain initiatives such as increasing bin collections or assessing Byelaws to stop vehicles from parking at certain hot-spots.  Also, there have been assurances that the Community Policing Teams are taking these matters very seriously indeed. They do have powers under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 to issue on-the-spot fines (fixed penalty notices) to people who are behaving in antisocial ways.

“We therefore acknowledge the good work of the Highland Council and Police Scotland in dealing with the minority of visitors who are ignoring the rules.”

“The Council urgently investigates how best to encourage private hosting of campervans and caravans by crofters and small-holders and publicises the results of this study widely.”   



Dear Editor,

Lochbroom Community Council has been receiving a lot of calls and emails on the subject of litter and contamination in laybys and parking places. The Scottish and UK governments have urged people to take staycations which has resulted in a lot of visitors to the Highlands who are unfamiliar with the area. Many of the toilets in cafes and visitor attractions are closed due to Covid, and as a result many people are forced to "go to the toilet" outdoors. 

Following a meeting between Ullapool Community Trust, Welcome Ullapool and LBCC, a poster with information has been made which readers will see on the back page of this issue of the UN.

In an effort to educate and assist these visitors LBCC has successfully applied to the North Highland Initiative to fund 150 signs printed with this poster to be placed at all laybys along with a trowel for burial of human waste and paper. The first of these signs and trowels will be in place by the time you read this.

Obviously this is a temporary response to an unusual situation, and the signs will be removed when we think the rush has subsided. In the longer term we need a better response, which will take time and money. The NC500 organisation estimate that last year £22 million was spent by visitors to the NC500, and perhaps £8 million will have gone as tax from that spend. Is it not time that more of that money is spent on infrastructure to support the visitors we have invited to the Highlands?

Best wishes,

Topher Dawson, Chair of LBCC.


Friday 7 August 2020        Issue 2389


Ullapool Garden of Reflection

The members of the UGOR committee, are very excited and proud to announce the arrival of the memory tree at the garden of reflection site, which is to the left of the carpark in the Ullapool high school grounds. It’s been a long road getting our vision to become reality.

Thanks must go to Tesco for funding the tree, Tony for the design, and Ian and Ann for realising the design and creating our beautiful tree, and being so helpful and understanding during the process, as Eilidh and I didn’t make their life easy.

Thanks also must go to Alison and William for collecting and delivering the tree, and Angus and Budgie for their patience with the drilling and assembling of the tree and Jeannette for the photos.

The leaves for the tree will be on sale soon, and available at local businesses in Ullapool for £20 each in the next week or two.

One of our S.O.S members remarked that the funds from the leaves “will make our garden grow” which we thought was a lovely way of saying all the funds raised by leaf sales will be used to develop this garden project further.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support x

2389 12389 2















Friday 31 JULY Issue 2388


smaller SS pic

This delightful banner designed by the Ullapool Sea Savers group with the help of Alice Mikietyn is now on display in Tesco’s car park. Well done to you all, it looks very effective.




Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Maria has been overwhelmed by the kindness, support and donations made to her Brave the Shave fund.

£5244 has been raised via GoFundMe and a further £1055.92  given in cash, cheques and via PayPal.

The incredible total is £6299.92!

In a time when it has been difficult for many the past few months, the generosity shown has been amazing.

Thanks again.

Di Rusling


Friday 24 JULY Issue 2387



Maria Paterson one of the Ullapool News team and an amazing lady has been fighting a huge battle against breast cancer, which has left her with limited life expectancy. Maria has just finished radiotherapy and is now in a second cycle of chemotherapy. Previously she had surgery and immunotherapy. It’s been a tough year made harder by the past months of lockdown when family and friends could not visit, and treatment has been on her own as her husband Steve could not go into the hospital.

As a number of people expressed the wish to assist, I started thinking what to do. I’m not one to do a parachute jump or fire walking and I’m not a runner - so chose to show solidarity to Maria and Brave the Shave, the hair was dyed blond Friday, it went red on Saturday and was shaved off last Sunday at Shore Street, Ullapool by Georgie McIntosh.

Folk very generously donated £593.40 at ‘Brave the Shave’ and Maria’s Cancer Battle GoFundMe is currently at £4804 with a few more promised donations this week.

Maria and Steve’s 3 cocker spaniels also joined in to support their Mum and had a very close hair cut!

Maria is overwhelmed by all the wonderful people who have shown kindness, support and donations, thank you all very much - you are very generous and give strength to Maria and Steve.

Thanks also to Georgie for head shaving, Catherine Bentley for the video, Erika Rickards for photos and Rhiona, Ullapoodle Dog Grooming for shaving the dogs!

Di Rusling

All at the Ullapool News send love to team members Maria and Steve.



The tragic death of David Heaney has come as a shock, and we all join together in expressing profound condolences for his family. Our thoughts of support are with them at this awful time.

David had a strong sense of community and belonging, which he expressed through his concern for all. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, he has spoken up for the needs of the vulnerable, wanting to ensure that their voices were heard and their needs met. He expressed his views with realism and humour, demonstrating the humanity that was evident in all his activities.

We are experiencing a deep sorrow at his passing because we appreciated his empathy and actions in wanting to ensure that all were safe and looked after during these difficult times. David was heavily involved in our Cross-Community Covid-19 response group comprising over 20 local organisations and was instrumental in setting up hardship support in the community as well as being the driving force behind the new Loch Broom FM community updates. A true testament to his character."

Ullapool Community Trust - Covid Response group, Volunteers, Directors and Staff. 


This year’s Sea Watch National Whale & Dolphin Watch takes place from Saturday 25th July to Sunday 2nd August 2020, and they are asking members of the public to help.

The team at Sea Watch will offer online training and advice on how to take part:

Sponsors have also donated amazing prizes for people who participate in the NWDW watches:

Visit for details, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">


Scotland is Stunning – Zero Waste Scotland Launches Campaign Urging People to Protect Highlands & Islands by Binning Litter or Taking it Home

As Scotland opens its doors to a relaunched tourist season, Zero Waste Scotland is launching a new campaign highlighting the country’s natural beauty and wildlife and urging visitors not to spoil areas, such as the Highlands & Islands, by littering when they’re enjoying the delights of our parks, coast, countryside and campsites.

The publicly-funded organisation has launched a new campaign: Scotland is Stunning – Let’s Keep It That Way, which aims to inspire people getting out and about to enjoy the great outdoors without leaving litter, reminding them they should either bin litter or take it home.

The campaign, which highlights the beauty of our lochs and mountains, city parks and country woodlands, is backed by the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

As lockdown eases, Scotland’s tourism industry officially reopened on Wednesday 15th July.

Local businesses and the tourism industry in general across Scotland are counting on an increase in trade to support them through what are difficult economic times. Scotland’s unspoilt scenery plays a vital role in encouraging people to enjoy our country and support businesses, but this can only happen if areas of beauty remain in their original pristine state.

The partners behind the campaign jointly condemn scenes of abandoned campsites, burned out trees and human waste, as well as litter, as being hugely damaging to Scotland’s reputation.


Friday 17 JULY Issue 2386



Welcome Ullapool


Most of the comunnity will be very aware of the measures taken to keep us all safe as the country and our area prepares to welcome more visitors.  We don't imagine that anyone has approached this stage with complacency or unconcern. This is reflected in the enormous efforts that our community has made to keep everyone as safe as possible and we should be very proud of our efforts.

Over the last few months Ullapool Community Trust has been leading frequent meetings of a variety of groups to cover areas of safety, assistance and support.  From this the initiatives of the Safe for All Charter, the community survey, provision of hand sanitisers and spraying machine, the operations of the Community Hub and Parish Hub, SLCVO, and much more has been actioned by voluntary individuals and groups.

It's also apparent from the publications of our local hospitality businesses and shops, the huge amount of work, effort and care that has been taken in readiness for continuing to welcome, or welcome back their customers and guests.  The ingenuity shown in the planning on how to open safely, implementing new procedures and training of staff should be applauded.  This applies to the local shops and the smallest bed and breakfast to the largest pub and hotel.

Congratulations and well done

Ullapool and Area 



Friday 10 JULY Issue 2385


A message from Ullapool Primary 

I would like to say a big thank you to all our parents and pupils for their commitment and support during Lockdown.

We have had such wonderful experiences which have surprised us all in spite of the situation we have all been in.

We have had an all virtual talent show, where talents abounded through the magic of video uploads, even all the way from South Africa where one of our families had got stuck.

A virtual house quiz produced by some P6s on ‘Google Meets’ and our ‘Blooming Virtual Tea Party’ raising funds for Marie Curie which received an amazing £580.

None of this would be possible without everyone’s support. We are so fortunate to live in such a wonderful community, which is always there to look out for one another. I am not sure what challenges lie ahead, but at least we know that we can overcome them if we work together.

Finally, a huge thank you to the Parent Council for their generous gift to the staff, the Seaforth for fundraising during the next three months for the school fund and for all the personal gifts that many of us have received. You are all brilliant and I look forward to seeing you all in August.




Ullapool Rotary is very disappointed at having to cancel this year’s Pier day. Particularly as this is our 25th anniversary year and also one in which most of the charities we support are desperate for funds.

    We would like to say a big thank you to all those who have been part of Pier Days and the many local companies who have made donations towards our work.

  Our recently appointed President, Rick Strain, has pressed the club to use the funds we hold in reserve for emergencies. Because of that Ullapool, Gairloch  and Aultbea foodbanks and Voucher schemes have each received several hundred pounds.      

     Also, knowing how the current issue with the virus is affecting people with mental problems, we have made an equivalent donation to Inverness Samaritans.

   Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you next year.

All the best.   

Ian MacMillan,  Retiring President, Ullapool Rotary Club




Made In Ullapool Has Reopened

MIU is now open for business,  Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

We look forward to welcoming customers back to the shop.

Unfortunately there are no workshops with trainee volunteers.

For now, we are all missing each other so much, but until we feel the environment is safe, these are on hold for time being.


Friday 3 JULY Issue 2384




Sent in by a reader

Don’t rush the little wild ramblers, 

wanderers and dreamers

Don’t push or compare the child who tarries

and turns over every pebble

who stops to fill overflowing pockets

talk to trees and look for a 

shimmering chrysalis under every milkweed leaf

Who listens to the wind, current and 

messages of each spiralled shell

Don’t rush them for they will grow up

to be noticers, correctors and guardians.

Their pace will carry a certain peace 

back to the rest of the world.

Nicolette Sowder 

(Wild Child)



Apologies from 

Ullapool Virtual Flower, Craft and Produce Show: 

We have messed up the numbering on the Show programme ......there are 2 class 38's...!

Please use the amended programme in this week’s issue of the Ullapool News where the rules have been reprinted.  

All entries are free, 1 entry per person per class, each sent separately.

If you've already sent your entry in don't worry we'll work it out!!


The entries will be photographic so will be judged on look/skill/presentation as far as the judge can see.  We've had to tweak the programme to reflect this .

 Email all photos to : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">



A893 - Notification of investigation works at Shore Street, Ullapool



BETWEEN 1000 - 1400HRS.




Friday 26 JUNE Issue 2383



Ullapool Museum would like to thank our members, followers, and the local community for the continued support through the Covid-19 situation. The encouragement, donations and interactions with our online content have helped us maintain a continual presence to the public. Which is pivotal in ensuring we are able to continue to preserve and protect the heritage and culture of Lochbroom.

With the Scottish Governments proposals to open tourist attractions on the 15th July we are delighted to announce a provisional opening date of 1st August 2020.

However, this is subject to government advice.

The future for Ullapool Museum looks a lot brighter in recent weeks and we are very excited to be able to welcome visitors later in the summer.

Visiting Ullapool Museum will present some changes to our usual routine and our staff and volunteers are dedicated in ensuring a safe environment for all. Details of the changes will be announced in the coming weeks.

We are committed to ensuring that the general public and local community have confidence in our ability to ensure a safe, educational and entertaining space for everyone to enjoy.

Follow us on facebook, Instagram and twitter to receive up to date information on our preparations, or look to our website   for full details.



Members of the Ullapool Garden of Reflection are meeting at the garden (at the High School), weather and midges permitting, weekdays 11am, to do a bit of tidying and have a safe distance natter.

If you have an hour to spare, come and join us, and get to know the space, it has a very peaceful feel about it, and we would love to see you.


Lochbroom Community Update on Local Radio

96.8 & 102.2 FM

NB Modified schedule:

Programmes now last 24 mins (to accommodate longer interviews), and therefore start at same time as before (9:03) in morning, BUT the afternoon repeat now begins at 16:35.

Weekdays only  Mon-Fri @ 09.03, repeated 16:35 (5 minutes earlier)


Inside this week's printed edition:

The Coigach Ungathering…                  Letters…         Govt Route Map to Phase 2… Police advice about “scammers” ...          Face covering on public transport…     

Tide Tables & weather…         Lochbroom Community Council Minutes…

Isle Martin Seaweed Festival Challenge..   Annat Bay Watch Whales & Prawns.     Gardening column from Rosie…     The Summer of 1945 - letters 



Friday 19 JUNE Issue 2382



NC500 still on visitors’ radar 

More than three quarters of people who have delayed plans to travel the North Coast 500 expect to do the trip within a year of Covid-19 restrictions being lifted.

In a survey of 4,000 people by the North Coast 500 (NC500) group, 80% said the pandemic has had no impact on their desire to explore the tourist route and they want to tour the Highlands once restrictions are lifted.


Islanders save 10 whales stranded on rocks

Islanders from South Uist have helped to rescue 10 whales that had become stranded in shallow water in the Western Isles.

The whales were first spotted on Thursday near Lochboisdale and were part of a 20-strong pod of log-finned pilot whales.

Seventeen became stranded and from Friday until Sunday and local people repeatedly re-floated the whales that were getting into trouble.

On Sunday some whales were found in difficulty in a narrow rocky cove and had to be pushed off the rocks as they were distressed and injuring themselves.

Sadly seven whales died.  For the 10 that were saved, rescuers used two boats and guided them to open water between Uist and Skye where they swam off.

Some members of one family, who had helped with the rescue, decided to serenade the whales with Gaelic songs as they went on their way….

 2832 whales 


Friday 12 JUNE Issue 2381


St Valery en Caux

I must apologise to the folk who bought my book "Lochbroom through the Centuries" that there is no mention of the stand which the 51st (Highland) Division took in 1940 at St Valery en Caux. Sadly I was only five years old in 1940 and this event did not impinge on my then consciousness! But the hard fact is that the Division was sacrificed to cover the retreat from Dunkirk; the instruction coming from the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

On 12th June 1940 just after the successful mass evacuation at Dunkirk, the rump of troops were holding back the German Army which was swarming across northern France under General Erwil Rommel, and fighting a rear guard action to ensure that the Dunkirk evacuation was completed.

The 51st Highland Division was comprised of the Seaforth Highlanders, the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, the Black Watch and the Gordon Highlanders, and they retreated alongside the coast of France and made a last stand against Rommel's Army at the small fishing village of St Valery en Caux. The 10,000 who had survived a gruelling retreat were almost out of ammunition for the ordinary soldiers and completely out of artillery ammunition for their 25 pounder field guns. To be fair the weather made difficult a Dunkirk type rescue aided by German artillery massing on the cliffs above the town which made a rescue bid dangerous in the extreme. The British General, General Fortune, took the difficult decision to surrender, a decision to save the lives of the surviving troops, so the Seaforth Highlanders from Lochbroom had to join their comrades in that surrender. They were marched from St Valery en Caux to prisoner of war camps in Germany and Poland. Those of us around in 1945 when our depleted contingent came back will remember their heroes’ welcome. I myself remember George Ross returning to marry Roseanne Steel and Ian MacDonald from Ardmair who had survived being run over by a tank and who well remembered Kenny MacKenzie from Blughasary who had been wounded and was awaiting stretcher bearers. Kenny was posted "missing" and his mother Annie, when she died many years after the war ended, was still looking for him to come home.

Kenneth MacLeod


Knockan Crag NNR – as part of phased re-opening, we welcome local visitors back to walk at Knockan Crag NNR, in line with the Scottish Government guidelines.  Please remember our toilets remain closed.  Some of our interpretation is also closed.  For any queries please call 01463 701604.


News from St. Mary's Episcopal Church Vestry

As many of you will know Nicholas Court, our Rector, has now retired and details of what will be happening during the Church vacancy were included in the Church Page of last week’s Ullapool News

There are many in the village who would wish to thank him for  his contribution to the spiritual life of Ullapool and although we have had to put the Church's celebrations on hold for the time being, we hope it will not be too long until we can say "Thank You" properly. Meanwhilewe wishhim and Gilly "All the best and happy fishing"!


Early copies of the Ullapool News

A number of people have said how much they enjoy reading the re-prints of the early copies of the Ullapool News.  Last week we published Issue No. 11 dated 21 April 1975 which included a piece about the 7:84 Theatre Company when they came to Ullapool with their production of “The Cheviot, ~The Stag and The Black Black Oil”.

One reader wrote to us:

“The 1973 issue that you have included is a real cracker. That visit from 7:84 with The Cheviot, The Stag & the Black, Black Oil at the Caley is still talked about – with a very young Bill Paterson and Alex Norton among the cast, now so famous.  I always remember a TV documentary about that tour:  the director recalled that the performances were so powerful and real to village audiences that, during a scene where a factor arrived, probably to carry out an eviction, one old lady in the audience jumped up and started shaking her fist and shrieking at him (the poor actor) in Gaelic!”


‘Ullapool walks with Black Lives Matter’


2381 blacklives

As the world mourns the loss of George Floyd, killed by a police officer, Scotland has taken a stand to show our support against racism and discrimination. Alongside Edinburgh and Glasgow who had arranged events on Sunday, Ullapool showed amazing solidarity with this vital anti-racist movement by taking to the streets on a walk with Black Lives Matter.

‘Ullapool walks with Black Lives Matter’ called for residents of Ullapool to plan their daily walk for 2pm on Sunday the 7th of June. In an attempt to not undo the hard work of the community during this time of global pandemic, the event encouraged no gathering of people and had no specific route.

Furthermore, it was arranged that those who carried signs and banners would place them together to show unity.

Following on from the walk, I would like to thank all those who came out. It was lovely to see so much support for Black Lives Matter here. Often when you come from a small village or town you feel that activism is an arm’s length activity. One you cannot truly participate in unless you live in Edinburgh, Glasgow or London etc.

However, geographical location doesn’t and shouldn’t play into it. Every contribution is important. Sunday was evidence that although we live in a small community, we can show our support for global issues such as institutional racism.

Sunday’s event was made all the more special with a surprise art installation by Cathy Holms and her daughter Lily who painted 100 stones with the names of people who have died in police custody in the UK.

This moving piece was placed along the sea wall on Shore Street and was sparked by research into the horrific reality regarding custody deaths amongst the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) community. Taking names from the ‘Dying for Justice’ report by the Institute of Race Relations, Lily and Cathy added to the 70 cases detailed there with information from the group INQUEST (a charity in England and Wales providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people) and SACC (Scotland Against Community Criminalisation) who campaign against anti-civil rights laws which penalise BAME communities exponentially.

On a personal note I am very proud of Ullapool.  However, we must continue this conversation and make sure that this event does not get archived and quickly forgotten. The most important thing that can come out of this is for people to face up to the inherent bias that exists not only institutionally but within our own behaviour. We must better educate ourselves on this subject and turn our greater understanding into actions.  Ullapool, like everywhere is not exempt from this and should work hard to make everyone welcome and an equal.

For an extensive list of anti-racism resources please search online for:;sa%3DD%26amp;ust%3D1591724300870000&sa=D&ust=1591724300933000&usg=AFQjCNG6gbBUqiYeq-kssKBKJG61buDK2Q">

Sigi Whittle,  Ullapool


Friday 5 JUNE Issue 2380


The Ullapool News is back in full production.  

This means you will only see the front page here on the website.  Postal subscriptions are available - please email us for further details.

We are delighted to be back…!

Following Fran’s interview on LBFM we have been asked for more info on the early years and production of the UN - so here goes….


For people new to the village …

The Ullapool News sprang to life in a room in St Valery Place, Ullapool in 1973, the brainchild of Barry Todd, Donald Mason and Iain Campbell.  The one page information sheet was printed in the Royal Hotel on one of the old Gestetner stencil machines. Price 2p.

We are a community newspaper registered as such at the Post Office and a copy is held in the British Library - they write to us if they don't receive their copy (!). We also have an archive of every issue in our office beside the Village Hall in Market Street. Peak circulation reached over 1000 every week but this has dropped slightly with the advent of social media.  Copies are shared between family & friends.

There are now 8 members of the team.  Jo is the editor, Sheila does the typing and the compositing.  Maria and Fran handle the advertising and the printing is done on Wednesday by Steve, with Rich acting as relief.   Audrey collates all the pages using two specialist machines and Heather does the stapling as well as dealing with the postal subscriptions.  Rich distributes on Thursday to the various outlets and it goes on sale on Friday.  Sheila handles all the accounts side of things and Fran updates the website and is also the relief editor.  

The production of the Ullapool News is very much a team effort.  We are self-sufficient and do not get grants of any kind.  We do not employ journalists as such and rely on all items being sent in to us.  We cover the area from Lochinver down to Coigach, and round to Laide.

In 1998 the Team received a Civic Award from Ross & Cromarty Committee of Highland Council for services to the community.  We are also very proud of the fact that up until the end of March 2020 we had not missed a single week since 1973. (We have two weeks holiday over the Christmas/New year period).

The UN Team also produce the local telephone directory; another one is due but first we need to ascertain if there is the demand as a massive amount of work is involved. In the late 1990s the Ullapool News helped with the production of the Guide to Ullapool and Surrounding Area which sold over 15,000 copies and was reprinted three times. The Guide raised lots of money for local groups and organisations, though it is now sadly out of print.   

Job anyone?!

To contact the Ullapool News ring 01854 613334 or

Email //This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./" style="color:rgb(149, 79, 114)">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  




Join us as we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the ‘other Dunkirk’: the Battle of St Valery-en-Caux and the 51st Highland Divisions stand there.

Whether you’re a passionate piper, masterful musician or simply want to stand proud and shine a light of remembrance on the brave men who gave their lives or were captured and taken thousands of miles across to Eastern Europe where they remained until the end of the War.

By supporting this event, you can pay respect and help raise awareness of the 3 charities involved; Poppyscotland, Legion Scotland and RCET: Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity. With your help we hope that at 10am on the 12th of June  pipers, and other musicians, across the world will take to their doorsteps to play the retreat: The Heroes of St Valery.   For more information visit:


Friday 29 May Issue Web Only


Highlands not yet back open for visitors says Finnie

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands has welcomed the First Minister’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown, but warned that for now the Highlands must remain closed to visitors. 

The Scottish Government has signalled its intention to begin a phased end to lockdown restrictions on the 28th May, but restrictions on travel, tourism and hospitality businesses are likely to remain for sometime to come.

The Green MSP has previously issued calls for short-term let operators throughout the Highlands to stop taking bookings throughout the crisis and for people with second homes in the region to stay away for now.

Mr Finnie said: “The risk of overwhelming health services in remote and rural communities throughout the Highlands remains very real and would be exacerbated by an influx of tourism from the rest of the country. I would therefore implore those with second properties to please stay away until we can be sure the threat from this deadly virus has passed.”



Plans are afoot for the Ullapool News to re-start publication from Friday 5 June.  Following Government guidelines, we have in place the required measures for the safety of our staff.  We will, of course, expect anyone calling at the Ullapool News office to respect the same advice as elsewhere.

We have been very grateful to have had the support of Ullapool Community Trust which, through a grant they accessed from the North Highland Initiative Community Fund, enabled us to produce the free weekly newsletter during lockdown.  Not that lockdown has ended: only the first tentative steps are being considered by the Scottish Government (see the back page) and we are being urged to continue the careful handwashing, sanitising and social distancing in order to keep this area safe.  The wearing of face coverings will become increasingly common and we hope to publish information in the Ullapool News about the correct and most effective way to use these.  

We would like to thank all the outlets for taking the newsletters: Tesco, Lochbroom Hardware, Lochbroom Filling Station, Parlett’s—and a special thanks to Allister for popping one into his grocery and newspaper deliveries, the Parish Hub, Lochbroom Community Hub, Achiltibuie Stores, Port A Bhaigh Stores, Laide Post Office and to Greg Allen and Bill Smith via Rapson’s bus for taking the newsletters to Lochinver.  Thanks too to anyone who has been shopping for neighbours who has picked up a newsletter at the same time!

Thank you to our contributors for sending their feel-good letters and ideas for what to do in lockdown and other items, including Jill and Paul, Stephen Keeler, Steve Boyle, Paul Copestake.  Apologies for being unable to squeeze in more of your offerings!

So, as from Friday 5 June, we will be able to accept advertising as usual, as well as print more reports etc!  We look forward to welcoming back our regular advertisers and any new ones!  Please see inside for details of costs and how to send items for inclusion in the Ullapool News.



New Booklet:  Ullapool and the North

A historical round trip from Ullapool, featuring Commander Vyner, Jackie Boa on 1940s Isle Martin, A Raid on Langwell, Coigach resistance, Elphin & Knockan successes, Clashmore & the King of Scourie, Assynt & Strathnaver clearances, Carbisdale Castle, Sutherland and Cromartie families, Littleferry 1746, Croick tragedy, Big Wallace & the Year of the Sheep, Seaforths at Brahan, Braemore, Inverlael, Leckmelm defiance, Robert Urquhart, and the Lochbroom community. E-copy from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - free, please give donation to the Parish Hub. Printed copy £2.50, please ask at Parletts.


Dear Editors & readers, me again!

Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may?

A thank you to fellow letter writer Jill for the much appreciated & very revealing letter she sent to me…detailing something we have in (none too) common!

This week I refer to a 350 km journey we made in New Zealand’s South Island in 2004. We travelled from the remote, rugged, huge beached Greymouth to the bus & rail terminus at Picton to catch the ferry to Wellington. The appropriately named (& cheaper) Atomic Shuttle greeted us. We were expecting a small (but proper) coach for the 5+ hour trek…we saw instead a challengingly small white Toyota Hiace, a large pile of bags/rucksacks & four other passengers! Our driver decided that we “didn’t need the trailer as there was room enough inside!” (One passenger, a large chap occupied a double seat with his more than ample posterior while the other 6 of us squeezed together on the remaining seats amid much luggage.) 

As we set off our cheery driver announced that we would be “picking up another passenger a bit further on” & we should “leave a space for him & his dog!” We journeyed north east along empty roads (several river crossings used bizarre single track combined road & rail bridges) through a landscape like Ross-shire on steroids. After an hour we stopped at a bus stop to pick up a cowboy attired folksinger with a waistcoat & hat John Wayne would kill for, his small bag, acoustic guitar, white stick & guide dog (he was also blind). The “squeeze” squeezed good naturedly more…the jovial singer smiled & hummed…his gorgeous Labrador behaved splendidly (as did our Gregor) a regular journey for them both…their “tour bus?” We made a small (16km) diversion so our driver could pick-up his “wages” from a previous gig on his behalf! When we arrived at Picton (with enhanced achy sardine empathy) a notice informed us that all ferry crossings were cancelled due to predicted storms!          

            Carry on doing the good deeds, don’t fall off & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile…

Bide Cheerful noo

Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)



Weather for Tuesday 19th May – Monday 25th May

Max temp 23.8C =75F min temp 8.2C = 47F

A mixed week then. Wednesday saw the headline temp figure of 24C but thereafter temperatures on the cooler side.  It was mostly dry with the exception of Friday and Saturday when we had some very heavy rain, but nowhere near as heavy as some areas in the Highlands.

As said temperatures were still not that great and it was too early to be casting clouts. Indeed, last year we reported that the annual clout casting ceremony was very much under attended and was unlikely to continue unless better support could be found.  Due to the current situation the event had to be cancelled but in reality it could have gone ahead as the number of entrants would have guaranteed that a social distancing of 6ft wouldn’t have been an issue, indeed the length of Shore St would have been the measure of the distancing available.
Note to the editors. The annual clout casting ceremony is where the unattached young ladies of the parish cast clouts into the rising sun on Shore St.  Later, with changing trends it was opened to young gentlemen as well but unfortunately never managed to quite capture the days where there was a ballot for a coveted place.   SB.





Annie's family would like to thank you all for your support, kindness and messages of sympathy after the passing of our dear Mam and Granny.

We are truly grateful to Mam's friends and neighbours for their friendship, kindness and support. She was thankful to have you all and to be so well looked after.  Also, thanks to André, Linda and staff from Lochbroom House and all at Ullapool Health Centre for your care.

Grateful thanks to Rev. Seoras Mackenzie for his warm tribute. Also, to Richard Ross and Scott Irvine for their guidance and support and finally to everyone that took the time to stand on the street and in the cemetery on such a wet day.  It was truly heartwarming and gave us such great comfort.




On June 18, Scottish Opera is premiering The Narcissistic Fish, a new 12-minute film that is a collaboration between Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli, Scottish poet and novelist Jenni Fagan (The Panopticon) and Scottish Opera’s in-house filmmaker, Antonia Bain.

Set in the kitchen of a restaurant called The Narcissistic Fish, in the Leith area of Edinburgh, the opera tells the story of the stormy relationship between chefs Angus, Kai and Belle, and touches on the themes of narcissism, gender bias and class. The concept of the film was first conceived by Antonia and Samuel two years ago, who had the idea of creating a narrative set in a commercial kitchen.

To watch The Narcissistic Fish on June 18, visit

Thanks go to everyone in the Scottish Opera Team, Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Benefactors, Idlewild Trust, Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle and Andrew Lockyer for their assistance in making the film. 


Creative writing at the Macphail Centre

WRITING ASSIGNMENT  9   by Stephen Keeler

Even professional writers use creative writing exercises from time-to-time. I would write very little if I didn’t read a lot, and it is from my reading that I often find a spark that sets me off writing something entirely of my own. I collect expressions and phrases which appeal to me, in my writer’s notebook. 

    The most recent half-sentence I have just scribbled into my notebook comes from an essay on Kashmir. It speaks to me. I don’t yet know what I’ll do with it or whether I’ll ever use it. Perhaps it speaks to you, too. Use the following quotation from Water Music – Kashmir, 1944, by Rumer Godden, as the opening to a short story, a poem or a biographical sketch:

            “All my life I have breakfasted early and, if possible, out of doors.”

Other suggestions:

Write a short descriptive piece entitled, ‘Breakfast’.

Write a poem set at breakfast time.

Write a scene from a story, set at the breakfast table.

Write a description of your perfect breakfast.



NYCOS Mini Music Makers moves online

NYCOS Mini Music Makers classes have moved online following a successful run of trial sessions.

These online sessions for babies, toddlers and young children use singing, movement and play to support cognitive, language and motor skills. The emphasis is on fun: tickling games, bouncing songs and lullabies which bring music to life.

NYCOS Head of Creative Learning, Carole Allen, says: “We are delighted that our local leaders have been able to continue to deliver their classes by going online to reach out to children and parents across the country and beyond. They have some really creative ideas to support music in the early years which has proven holistic benefits.”

The enthusiastic class leaders are fully trained in the unique NYCOS method of early years music education, based on the teachings of Hungarian Composer and Educator, Zoltán Kodály. The leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and are a mix of nursery practitioners, music specialists and freelance professional musicians. 

Saturday classes start on 30 May.  Other classes have started but will have discounted rates for those starting late.

Book now at

For older children, NYCOS is posting daily songs, musical games and activities for playing at home (or in school) without contact to keep developing musicianship skills and have fun:



We’re all about looking after our mental well-being, especially during strange times like these. See our top tips on things you can do at home, to stay positive, calm and happy!

Create a bedtime ritual & stick to it.

Whether it’s a skincare routine, spraying your pillow with pillow mist or writing down three things you’re thankful for each day, make sure to do it just before you go to sleep. 

Learn a new skill. 

Remember that New Year’s Resolution to learn Spanish or how to play the piano? Now’s the time to get some practice in.  How about trying to bake a special cake?

Get back to nature. 

Grow some herbs on your kitchen windowsill, turn your waste into home compost or watch the birds and animals who share your garden space with you… take it all in and breathe. 

But most of all, be kind to others and to yourself!



Walkers on Ullapool Golf Course

As of Friday 29 May, the course will once more be open to members for playing golf.  We ask all walkers to follow the procedures in place before lockdown, and, for your own safety, please keep to the beach side of the red marker posts along the shore.

May we take this opportunity of thanking all of the walkers, with and without dogs, for their care and attention while using the course during  lockdown.  We were pleased to be able to make the course available for exercise during that period.


Marie Curie’s famous fundraising campaign goes virtual to recover devastated fundraising income  

Marie Curie’s famous Blooming Great Tea Party is going virtual this year and the charity needs tea party hosts more than ever before to make up for the devastating effect the coronavirus crisis has had on the charity’s income. 

The end of life charity is calling on you to throw a Blooming Virtual Tea Party from home this summer. While staying indoors is the new normal, throwing a virtual tea party is a fun way to stay connected to the ones you love during this time and a great way to support nurses working on the frontline of the crisis.

The charity’s fundraising income has been devastated by the impact of lockdown measures – it had to cancel its Great Daffodil Appeal in March and closed all its charity shops shortly after. The charity needs to raise a quarter of a milllion pounds to fund its Scottish services. 

Vonnie Stevenson, Community Fundaiser said: 

“Our Blooming Great Tea Party looks a little different this year but I think everyone needs an excuse to meet up with their friends and family – online of course – and check in on the people they love. If you can do that while raising some money for Marie Curie, then your generous donations will enable us to help even more people at the end of their lives get the care they need in this time of uncertainty.

“We rely on the support of the amazing public to ensure our nurses can keep caring for people. And while the coronavirus crisis has badly impacted our fundraising events, we hope by going virtual we’ll be able to raise the vital funds we need to keep supporting people in our communities across the North of Scotland.”         

To register as a Blooming Virtual Tea Party host visit or call 0800 716 146 for you fundraising pack full of hints, tips, recipes and fundraising ideas. 

Any support you can give to our CV19 Emergency Appeal would be hugely appreciated.

Marie Curie Support Line                 0800 090 2309 

If you’ve got questions about terminal illness or simply want someone to talk to, call the Marie Curie Support Line for free confidential support and practical information on all aspects of terminal illness. 



Council confirms details for Household Waste Recycling Centres to reopen

 The Highland Council has confirmed which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020.  A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.

In the initial phase the sites are open for essential waste disposal only and householders are advised that journeys to a HWRC must only be undertaken if their waste cannot be stored at home safely. By this we mean the waste cannot be stored without causing risk of injury, or harm to health. 

Ullapool Recycling Centre from 1 June: Mon-Fri 9am-1pm

Householders are urged to visit the Council’s website before they travel to one of these sites to check it will be open as planned and to find out what restrictions are in place. Visit  Further guidance on what to expect when visiting a HWRC is detailed in our Frequently Asked Questions, also available on the website. 

The first phase will see only cars being permitted access to the sites and the materials accepted will be restricted to bagged household waste and garden waste.  To cut down on time spent at the site, householders should bring garden waste in bags and empty the contents into the containers. 

The reason for the restrictions on vehicles and materials is to reduce the time spent at the sites by individuals, so that as many as people as possible can pass through the sites quickly and safely, enabling traffic to flow more freely. Only one person will be permitted to leave their vehicle to dispose of their waste.  Site staff are unable to assist with handling waste; therefore, householders should only bring waste they can carry and empty into the containers.

“Over the coming weeks, once we are satisfied that the amount of waste and visitor numbers using the sites are at safe and manageable levels, we will move to Phase 2, which will see more types of waste being introduced to the list of items that are accepted.  It is vitally important that householders check the new guidance about using a HWRC on our website and in the local press before they set off or risk being turned away.

Traffic management systems will be in operation in the surrounding area of a HWRC.  Staff will be in place at the entrance to each site to speak with visitors and advise on waiting times and procedures on site. If a queue is too large, some vehicles may be turned away and asked to return later.  

To help reduce the spread of the of Coronavirus site staff will be adopting robust hygiene standards.  Householders should wash their hands before and after visiting a HWRC.  Please also observe social distancing and stay 2 metres apart from staff and other site users when at a HWRC. Householders are reminded not to visit the site if they are showing symptoms of Coronavirus. Strictly no commercial waste or recycling will be accepted.



University of the Highlands and Islands intends to start autumn term as planned 

 The University of the Highlands and Islands has confirmed that it intends to start its autumn term on the usual dates, with the majority of higher education students beginning their studies on Monday 7 September. Further education students will also start at the times they usually would through their individual partner colleges and institutions. 

In line with Scottish Government public health guidance the approach will combine video conferencing and remote learning technologies as well as face-to-face teaching where possible and appropriate in order to provide a safe learning environment for all staff and students. 

 The university has also worked with the Highlands and Islands Students' Association and Comann nan Oileanach at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI to agree that there will be no graduation ceremonies, either in person or virtually, during 2020. Students who finish their courses this year will still receive official confirmation of their awards from the awarding body, with higher education students having their awards conferred and graduating in absentia. The university partnership is planning to organise events for 2021 which will enable graduates and guests to celebrate when it is safe to do so. 

 The university is still welcoming applications for courses starting in September. To find out about the range of opportunities available across the partnership or take part in an online open event, visit



UCT Funding

Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) has received a grant of £8,000 from Highland and Island Enterprise. This money is available for groups and projects who need funding to help maintain/deliver projects and services etc. during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The funding will be allocated by the Community Benefit Fund Panel which represents the community, UCT, Loch Broom Renewables and the Community Council.  Funding will be allocated on an ongoing basis. Payments of up to £1,200 are available but larger payments will be considered by the Panel. Non-constituted groups and/or individuals may apply if they are sponsored by another non-profit group who can receive the grant on their behalf.

Full details and application forms are available on Facebook community pages, UCT website, by email or by post.

The fund is open now for applications. Please submit your application in by 1st August. Help for completing the forms is available from UCT. Contact details below.

Contact : Sue Parker, Community Benefit Fund Administrator, Ullapool Community Trust, Broomview Cottage, Ardcharnich, by Garve, IV23 2RQ

 Tel :01854 655 300 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">



Taking steps to mental and physical wellbeing

People in Scotland are walking more since lockdown began compared to other parts of the UK.

According to a YouGov opinion survey, 61 per cent of Scots say they walk more now than they did before the Coronavirus restrictions came into place, the highest of any other region.

The study has been welcomed by Scotland’s walking charity Paths for All, which says now is the perfect time to experience the physical and mental benefits of a simple walk.

The charity is also marking Mental Health Awareness Week by launching a new podcast episode that helps people unwind while they walk.

Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “Walking has never held such importance to our physical – and in particular – our mental health, so it is great to see walking becoming more popular.

“Many people are feeling more anxious than usual right now and walking is an easy way to reduce stress and anxiety while also keeping us physically fit.

“Just a 30-minute daily walk is one of the best ways to look after your physical and mental health and, as it’s something we can do from our own front door, it fits in perfectly with permitted reasons to leave our homes.

“We also think it’s important that people get the greatest benefit from their walks so, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve added another guided walking meditation track to our Mind to Walk podcast series.”

Mind to Walk was launched earlier this month with the help of DJ and presenter Edith Bowman to help people relax their minds as they moved their feet.

The latest Mind to Walk podcast episode helps locked-down listeners take an imaginative journey by helping them to escape to their favourite location. Listeners are encouraged to think of their favourite holiday, childhood memory or regular route they are currently unable to visit.

The calming series of audios has been welcomed by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

Robert Nesbitt, Head of Physical Activity and Sport at SAMH, said: “We know that participating in physical activity can improve confidence, self-esteem, and mood; but it can be difficult for people to be active in the current circumstances.

“Walking is accessible and something that most of us can participate in. It's great that Paths for All are making this easier for people with the fantastic Mind to Walk podcast.”
Physical activity has been proven to help 18 per cent of people with their mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic, with other activities such as household chores, appreciating nature or getting outside and relaxation techniques also playing a big part.

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from 18-24 May 2020 is kindness.

Mind to Walk is freely available online on all popular podcast players or on Paths for All website at
Paths for All’s focus is clear: it wants to get Scotland walking: everyone, every day, everywhere.
For more information on Paths for All, visit:
To read advice on walking during periods of social distancing, visit:



Friday 22 May Issue Web Only


Lochbroom Community Council are delighted to announce the successful grant awards of:

£1,550 from the SSEN Resilient Communities Fund

£500 from Tesco Bags of Help

These awards will be passed to The Parish Hub to provide support for household expenses (e.g. electricity, food etc) to anyone in our community who is now finding themselves in difficulties at this time due to the Covid-19 crisis.         

To request support in confidence, please contact:

Robbie Mackenzie 612749, Yvonne Boa 612789, Ruth Clark 612790, Pam Eddington 613736, Heidi Hercus 612360   


In addition to the funding above, Ullapool Community Council (UCT) has successfully applied for funding from HIE to the tune of £1500.

This is to support anyone who is struggling due to the current situation.

There is no means testing involved in accessing this help.

Please call 01854 613879 if you require any assistance or advice.


UCT: Covid-19 Testing in Ullapool May 22-23 at the Fire Station appointments required for anyone who is symptomatic over the age of 5..   0300 303 2713  http:/




Chatting service launched to keep people with MS connected

People isolated by the coronavirus pandemic living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can seek support and assurance thanks to a new remote chatting service.

The MS Society have set up the Keep in Touch (KIT) service in response to a large number of the MS community shielding and socially distancing, ahead of a planned full befriending service later this year.

Staff from the charity are stepping up to be a part of KIT and making weekly calls to contact and chat with people affected by the ‘lockdown’. Anyone affected by MS including carers and family members can receive a phone call as a check-in to let people know they are not alone.

If you or anyone you know would like a friendly chat call the free MS helpline on 0808 800 8000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Tony Schilling is looking for a copy of Vicky Schilling’s recipe book: "From a Sussex Flint Cottage to a Highland Hillside Home".  If you know of a copy which is no longer needed, please contact Tony on 01854 613238.  He would be happy to buy it from you.  






Dear Eds,  

I have left Tesco, after 10 happy years and met some great friends from Manchester to North Uist, from Somerset to Scarborough.

I would like to thank colleagues for the surprise send-off and Eileen for the lovely cake.  To Tina, Chris & Robert; Calum, Gill and Calum Junior; Beverley (Auntie B)!  Helen, Jess, Angela, Lor, Penny, Anne, Tracey, Kasia, Kasey, Kya, Steve, Tasha, Lauren, Canna, Andrew, Ellie, Peter, Somhairle, John, Fiona, Carla, Gemma, Lorna, Bob, Peter (Lochside), Innes, Marion, not forgetting Scott.  

Also all the customers: Duncan & Mhairi; Don & Elaine; George, Corrine, Stephen & Alanna; Robert & Wee Mo (always remembered); Danny & Marie; Jan for lovely jam; Mandie for keeping me in Christmas & Easter hats; Heather for lovely cakes & tablet; Russell & Angus; Calum, Joan & Jennifer; Ian & Morag; Wayne, Kathy, Margaret & Alan, Ann & the late Malcolm; Roseanne, Nabbie, Bertha & Sarah, Mike & Angie.  The list is endless, I could easily fill the Ullapool News!

Special mention to Eileen & Penny for their help and support in my last month, not forgetting my favourite manager - Brenda. (PS Don’t tell Joanna)

Love and miss you all, Billy x



 Dear Eds,

 Yesterday, whilst walking around, I noticed all these flowers which are in bloom at the moment. I like the sound of their names and listing them sounds almost like a poem.

Primrose, violet and bluebell.

Dandelion, white bell, milkwort.

Celandine, tormentil, lousewort.

Herb Robert, butterwort, buttercup and campion..... I could go on, but that would be cheating as the others aren’t in bloom yet.

  When our children were at school here, they talked about various plants they either played with or ate. Honey sucks was one, the name given to the unattractively named lousewort which is a semi-parasitic plant which taps the roots of other plants for water and minerals. When they sucked the sweet nectar from the base of the flower, maybe the children were unconsciously supplementing their diet.

   There was a burn in the school playground and the children played story games in the bank. The main character of these games seemed to be My Man who built roads, houses and even a flushing toilet (rare here in those days). This game seemed to go on for several generations and probably stopped when the burn was fenced off as being too dangerous for children to play in. They used the flower heads of scabious as money for these games, the white one being considered most valuable as it was rare. Pig nuts were another prized plant which required digging down at the root of this white blossomed plant for the tasty nut. They also played a game called Noddy Heads with the knapweed plant. The stem, which needed to be not too juicy, not too dry was wound around just under the Noddy Head and if you were lucky, the head would fly off in a satisfying manner as you pulled the twisted stem sharply upwards.

   Thinking of indigenous plants, reminds me of another story that an old lady I used to visit, told me. She came from Ness in Lewis and had wonderful tales to tell. Whether about the guga or the bogbean, these stories always seem to involve “boiling and boiling and boiling”.

   Here is her story of the bogbean which, she said would cure any ill you liked to mention. To make this amazing elixir required wading in to the very middle of a bog and “pull the plant out by the roots” The word pull was accompanied by a dramatic hand gesture. The roots were then put into a big pot and, you’ve guessed, “boiled and boiled and boiled”.  The cooled liquid was then bottled with strong lids and left in the dark for several months. When the bottle was uncorked, “the power that was in it”, she would say with such vehemence and a violent upward thrust of her hands, that she would almost jump out of her chair. She longed for a taste of the guga before she died. That naturally, was boiled and boiled and boiled and tasted like a fishy goose. I decided to give that one a miss.

   I have just read an extract of a book entitled Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bergman. The extract The Real Life Lord of the Flies, tells of six boys in the 1960s who were shipwrecked on a remote uninhabited island, ‘Ata, where they survived by living co-operatively for over a year, even successfully setting a broken leg, until they were rescued’. 

  I felt so excited and optimistic after reading this extract which was sub-titled, “Our Secret Superpower is Our Ability to Co-  operate. I think we are seeing many signs of that at the moment and I shall try to keep focused on that idea.




Dear Ullapool News

I want to say a big thank you to the people at the Parish Hub. 

The Covid-19  virus has meant that our family is struggling a bit  and having some help to buy shopping for the next few weeks has made a big difference to us.  I never expected to need to ask for help but we’re very grateful to live in a village that supports its residents through these unexpected times.

Thank You

‘Name & Address withheld’




Max temp 17.5C = 65F min temp -0.2C =32F

We certainly had a very sunny April. The Met Office are saying the best ever.  All I can tell you is it’s been the best in the last eight years. 

The fine spell of weather lasted in to the first week of May albeit not as sunny.

It did not last though and we had more windy and certainly wetter weather recently.

Already we have had double the rain in May to date than the whole of April. 

As for the outlook: more loaves and bread rolls, some of these will be dense at times. We can expect intermittent outbreaks of cheese scones with some not achieving any great height. 




Creative writing at the Macphail Centre


by Stephen Keeler

This week I’ve been re-reading a wonderful novel I read for the first time over thirty years ago. The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden is a master-class in how to write a novel. It is exquisitely crafted and beautifully written.  To call it a coming-of-age novel would be to insult its subtlety. It is set by the river Marne, in the Champagne region of France, and no other novel I know manages to convey a stronger sense of place than The Greengage Summer.

Much of its effect comes from descriptions of or references to food and drink. This is the opening sentence:  “On and off, all that hot French August, we made ourselves ill from eating the greengages.”

Think of a food or drink which holds some special meaning for you:  something you associate with a particular time in your life, a place or a person; something which always reminds you of an event;  something which brings back certain feelings or reminds you of a certain scene.

Write a short piece of reminiscence in which a certain food or drink plays a central role. 

Only after you have written your piece, and you’re quite happy with it, type ‘Poems about food and drink’ into your search engine, and enjoy wonderful writing by William Carlos Williams, Edwin Morgan, Seamus Heaney and Pablo Neruda, among many others.  Write more pieces of reminiscence or poems about food and drink, if you are inspired by what you read.




A Story from Nabbie Mackenzie

Handy Kids

I have always been a handy kid, and big people have always found it a handy thing to have a handy kid about. The big people in this episode being my Uncle Alex and Jimmy Ferry. One of the handy things about having a handy kid about, was to use them to make sure their launches didn’t scrape against the Wee Pier as they were coming in to tie up. The sacred layer of varnish must not be scratched on the rough, broken pier, after all. 

On this fine day they were awaiting the ‘toffs’ from the Royal who were to enjoy a days fishing and swimming from the Gypsy and the Fiona. 

‘Hold her away!’ my Uncle Alex shouts.

My eight year old self hears his words, and using all my strength I fend off the massive oncoming weight of the Gypsy’s hull. The on-shore breeze is pushing her hard on towards me.

‘No, no!’ I cry, and I shove ever harder, finding just enough strength to keep a channel between herself and the broken, barnacled pier. Arms outstretched and pushing outwards with all my strength I brace myself. The waves slap and slop and I look down into the gap. For a moment I am satisfied with the task I was given. I am handy, after all. But in my enthusiasm I have over-reached. The gap opens up and I plunge into the water. 

And now here I am lying - almost comfortably - on the sea-bed with six feet of Loch Broom above me.

Does the 88 year old (still living) version of Nabbie remember all this? I hear you ask.

Well, I do.

So, I am lying at the bottom, and as I look up to the surface shining brightly above, I think - that’s not too far, and I look also at the seabed around me and calmly consider walking ashore.

In this moment of peaceful indecision a silver spear cuts through the glistening water above and I am hooked out like a haddock.

Jimmy Ferry, boathook in hand, smiles and sends me on my way, soaking wet. and shirt ripped from stem to stern.

‘Tut-tut! And do you know how new that shirt was!’ grieves my mother.

I am hoping that she is handy with her needle and thread.



Scottish Book Trust launch online celebrations for Bookbug Week

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, will host online celebrations this year for Bookbug Week​, which runs from Monday 18 May – Sunday 24 May. As the Bookbug programme has been running since 2010, the charity will mark the ten year milestone with #HappyBirthdayBookbug, encouraging families across Scotland to send Bookbug their birthday wishes.


Bookbug Week is an annual celebration of Scotland’s national book-gifting programme and Song and Rhyme Sessions. There will be many ways for families to join in the fun at home, such as a daily drawalong with Bookbug's creator Debi Gliori, to learn how to draw Bookbug and friends. There will also be a special film with Debi, which explains how she created Bookbug ten years ago.

The popular live Bookbug Session on Facebook will run on Friday 22 May at 10am, for everyone to join in and sing happy birthday to Bookbug. The first live Bookbug Session was a great success with over 20,000 views. For those that cannot join the live session, there will be an option to watch later, or the option of acelebratory Bookbug Session for families to try at home themselves.

Scottish Book Trust’s home activities hub will be packed with more themed ideas to try at home, from making a party hat to colouring in sheets of Bookbug. All through the week, there will also be competitions on the charity’s website and social media. Scottish Book Trust will also be asking for families' memories of their child's Bookbug Bags and Bookbug Sessions with their little ones. 

As always, families can access Bookbug’s Song and Rhyme library, via Scottish Book Trust’s website, or on the free Bookbug app. Building on the increasing demand for modern nursery rhymes, Scottish Book Trust commissioned Sprog Rock to develop a brand new birthday song, which will launch on Wednesday 20 May. The new song was created through interactive nursery workshops earlier this year with Bucklyvie Nursery in Glasgow. The song centres around the theme of being ten years old, with nursery children contributing their imaginative thoughts about what that age means to them.



A Call from CALL!

Sense of Place Virtual Workshops: 

Do you live in Coigach or Assynt? We need your help!

Our Landscape Routes project aim is to produce a toolkit to celebrate and promote our landscape within Coigach and Assynt. This can be nature, built or Cultural heritage or landscape based. We will be identifying common messages from community consultation in the form of online workshops. This project is led by the North West Highland Geopark and contractor Countryscape have been enlisted to help collect data from the communities to create this Sense of Place toolkit. 

Countryscape is a creative agency as well as landscape consultants and have been working with several organisations to create similar work for other partnerships and companies. For more information on Countryscape please visit

In the words of Countryscape, a ‘Sense of place’ is the term used to describe the emotions and experiences we associate with places. It’s how places make us feel. A sense of place is what gives an area its identity and makes it different from elsewhere. It is made up of the different landscapes, wildlife, history, people, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, memories and many other things that contribute to our experience of a place.

Community Consultation will be held on the 29th May with separate workshops for Coigach and Assynt in the morning, followed by a gathering of all involved in the afternoon. All of this will take place in Zoom chats and will comprise of fun exercises to find out what is important to residents of CALL.

We would love to have as much input as possible from the area to formulate the sense of place toolkit. This is an opportunity to agree a message for visitors and other external stakeholders on what its like in Coigach and Assynt. All you need to do is register your interest to join the workshops and more details will then be sent out to you. There will be support for those who have not used zoom before or are having difficulties so there is no need to feel nervous. We want to hear what you have to say! It's a very different approach to the more traditional, top-down methods used by Visit Scotland and others, because it places importance local knowledge, passion and pride. And that's why it's so important for you to get involved!

Details for the day of workshops are:

9:30 – 11:00 ¦ Workshop focused on what makes Coigach special

11:30 – 13:00 ¦ Workshop focused on what makes Assynt special 

14:00 – 15:30 ¦ Workshop bringing together the two previous sessions to discuss both landscapes

Please complete the registration form below to express your interest in the workshop. We will follow up with an email containing more details.




People are being urged to get involved in a new lockdown assault on invasive non-native species from the comfort of their own homes.

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) has today launched Alien Detectives – a fun and educational online resource to help the young, and not so young, learn more about alien - or non-native – invasive species.

Originally designed as a school education pack, the huge array of activities now includes a wide range of fun games and activities that anyone can enjoy at home, in the garden or on local walks during lockdown.

Alien Detectives includes crafts, quizzes, worksheets, presentations and puzzles all themed around invasive species and the river environment.  Although primarily aimed at young people, anyone with an interest in the environment or invasive species can enjoy them too.

“No prior knowledge is needed and there’s lots to learn and have fun with so become an Alien Detective and help us tackle invasive species today!”

All of the ‘Alien Detectives’ resources can be found at



Isle Martin Seaweed Festival Postponed

We are sorry to announce that the Isle Martin Seaweed Festival, due to take place this September 5-6th as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 programme has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Festival Curator, artist Julia Barton said “In the light of the Coronavirus situation, we have decided that sadly, there is no alternative but to put back the Isle Martin Seaweed Festival to ensure the safety of our community during this time".

The Isle Martin Seaweed Festival was selected to be supported by the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 events fund, managed by EventScotland as part of the official programme for the year. Regarding when the Festival will now run, Julia explains “We are working with VisitScotland and our funders to review all options and will be announcing a new date for the Festival as soon as we can”. 

The Isle Martin Seaweed Festival Working Group have not given up on celebrating seaweed entirely this year however, with two exciting activities still in the pipeline. The first is involvement in the Marine Conservation Society’s Big Seaweed Search project to map the seaweed beds around the UK coastline, with two beaches on Isle Martin selected for inclusion in the survey. The second activity is a fascinating kelp experiment by local archaeologist Cathy Dagg as part of her academic research into the West Coast kelping industry of the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Latest info visit:, Facebook (@islemartintrust), twitter (@islemartin) and Instagram (isle_martin) #YCW2020 #ScotlandWillWait



100 Years of Masonic Lodge St Martin, No 1217


On the 6th March 1920 a meeting was held in the Caledonian Hotel to discuss the forming of a masonic lodge in Ullapool.  On the 6th May 1920, the Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland in Edinburgh issued a charter to a new freemasons’ lodge in Ullapool.  The lodge was to be called ‘St Martin’ and the number on the roll of Grand Lodge of Scotland was ‘1217’.

There were 15 founder members who were already freemasons from all over Scotland as well as others from London, Cambridge and from as far afield as Calcutta and Ohio.

Dr. David Wallace, the local medical practitioner, was elected as the first master of the lodge.

Lodge St Martin celebrated its 100th anniversary on Wednesday 6th May 2020.  There were arrangements in place to have a re-dedication ceremony on Saturday 9th May 2020 with the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland 

Bro. W R McGhee leading the deputation from Grand Lodge with a celebratory meal to take place thereafter, but with the current Covid-19 lockdown all the plans had obviously to be postponed and it is hoped to have the meeting and celebrations at later dates when ‘normal’ life resumes.

Several members of the lodge including The Grand Master Mason had a video-conference meeting on the 6th May 2020 to mark the very important date in the lodge history and toasted the good health and future of the lodge.

A more detailed history will be inserted in the Ullapool News when normal printing resumes.

Bro. Charles Macaulay PM,  Secretary




Over the last weeks, many of us have experienced stress, anxiety or isolation. But now that we can get back outdoors, we celebrate the positive impacts of nature on our well-being for Mental Health Awareness Week.  


Most of us are spending much more time at home and we're noticing the incredible benefits of the outdoors and the joys of species right here on our doorstep! 
There are lots of things we can do to help support good mental health


More information can be found on the Mental Health Foundation website:


If you have access to the internet have a look at the World Wildlife Fund’s website:



Getting Help Links


Rethink Mental Illness


NHS Choices

The Mix


Youth Access Directory of Services

Youth Wellbeing Directory

Young Minds' parents helpline


All churches in our area are closed at the moment.  

Here are the contact details for local ministers: 

Lochbroom and Coigach Free Church:  Rev. Lachie Macdonald  tel. 01854 613390  (Services available online via Lochbroom and Coigach Free Church YouTube channel). 

The Church of Scotland:  Rev. Heidi Hercus, tel. 01854 612360 (The Church of Scotland will offer a live service on their Facebook page)

Scottish Episcopal Church: Rev’d Canon Nicholas Court  tel. 01854 612506 (Sunday,11am SEC service via website  and then click on “Online worship on Sundays” on the right-hand side of the screen.  This will take you to another page, and just after the 5th short paragraph of text you will see hyperlinks to Facebook or YouTube.)

St Martin's RC Church: Fr Max and Fr James tel.01463 782 232 (daily services



Achiltibuie Stores: 10.30-5pm   01854 622202

Bank of Scotland: 01854 612693   Mon, Wed & Fri 10am -2pm.  The bank will be locked but wave to the staff through the window and they will let you in.  One customer in at a time.

Boots:  01854 612114   Mon to Sat 10am-12.30pm & 1-4.30pm

Bosch garage:  01854 613355

DM Sea foods: 07771 986956   Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat   10am-2pm  Fish, fresh fruit & veg, Ullapool Unpacked CIC dried goods

Card payment.  Deliveries.

Deli-Ca-Sea Fish & Chips:  01854 612141   Card payment 

Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri & Sat 5-7pm   Deliveries. 

Sun & Thurs 4-5.30pm  No deliveries. 

(Lochside Thurs delivery only)

Fuaran, Altandhu:   01854 622 339 for Fuaran, 01854 622 440 for their shop but try Fuaran first

Grants of Dornoch:   07388 350658; 01862 811822 coming to Ullapool Weds (Latheron Lane) 11am–1pm

Laide Post Office, Stores, Fuel Station: 01445 731252   P.O. counter open Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 11am-3pm and Wed & Sat 11am-12.30pm. 

Lochbroom Hardware:   01854 613366   Mon – Fri   9am-1pm

Lochbroom Filling Station:   01854 612298

Lochbroom Woodfuels:   01854 612328     07857 472003   Monday, Tuesday, Friday, 10am-2pm 

Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday morning – please call to arrange.

We are delivering between Gairloch, Garve and Scourie and local deliveries are free (village, Lochside, Ardmair).

Lucky House Chinese Takeaway: 01854 613202   4.30-10.30pm   Closed Mon and Tues   Cash only

Morefield Motel:  01854 612161 612000   Phone orders & pay by card on ordering.  Hot meals.  Free delivery.  Ardmair to Leckmelm 5.30-8.30pm daily 

Sunday roasts: 12.30pm–2pm.  Breakfast: Sat and Sun 9-11am

Parletts:  incl. post office    01854 612448   Monday - Saturday   8am-12noon then 12noon - 1pm for private shopping by appointment only.  Slots must be booked during opening times in advance.  Deliveries are available between those times too.

Royal Bank of Scotland: Weekdays 10am-1pm   01854 612112

Sea Food Shack:  07596 722846 take away and deliveries Ardmair to Leckmelm. Thurs to Sat 4-7pm.  Card payment only

Tesco:  Mon to Fri: 8am–10pm. Sat: 8am-9pm. Sun: 8am-8pm  

Priority times  NHS staff Tues, Thurs and Sun 9am-10am 

                   Elderly & Vulnerable Mon, Wed, Friday 9am–10am 

Ullapool Laundry Services: 01854 613217   Weds 10am-4pm

Ullapool Nursery:    01854 613714   Tues to Sat 11am-3pm

Ullapool Taxis:  07517 612619   Daily   10am-7pm 

West Coast Deli:   01854 613450   Tues to Sat   9am




PLAY DATES  -  a new eight week online interactive programme for children and families

Produced by National Theatre of Scotland in association with Starcatchers and Imaginate

From 26 May 2020, Tuesday to Friday at 2pm, online.

National Theatre of Scotland in association with leading children’s arts organisations Starcatchers and Imaginate is connecting with families at home during the COVID crisis. A new digital Play Dates programme of online arts workshops and activities has been created specially for this ongoing period, whilst schools are off, offering children and young people, parents and carers online educational inspiration and theatrical home entertainment.

Launching on Tuesday 26 May 2020 at 2pm, Play Dates is an eight week digital programme of fun, interactive, participative and entertaining activities for children and their families created by some of Scotland’s leading creative practitioners and freelance artists.

From Tuesday to Friday over the next eight weeks, a new Play Dates workshop will be released every day on the National Theatre of Scotland website and social media channels for online audiences to access and take part in. All the activities are free. The Play Datesprogramme, which will continue to be developed, across the next few months, will include activities for all ages.

The Play Dates programme includes:

Weekly Activities



Tuesday 26 May, 2, 9, 16 June 2020 at 2pm 

Workshops by theatre artist Fraser MacLeod looking at creating tongue twisters, playing games online with friends and family and how to make your own stop motion film. 

For ages 8 plus


STORIFY- how to create stories

Wednesday 27 May, 3, 10, 17, 24 June, 1, 8, 15 July 2020 at 2pm

An interactive video series about how to create and tell your own stories at home using imagination and everyday surroundings presented by theatre-makers Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir.  

For ages 5 plus.


GROW YOUR OWN GESAMTKUNSTWERK (GYOG!) - how to make a show in your house

Thursday 28 May, 4, 11, 18, 25 June, 2, 9, 16 July 2020 at 2pm 

A video series about how to make a show in your house focusing on different areas of the arts created and presented by arts enthusiast Veronika Velvette, facilitated by Claire Eliza Willoughby and Rob Jones.

For ages 7 plus.



Friday 29 May, 5, 12, 19, 26 June, 3, 10, 17 July 2020 at 2pm 

Also created by practitioners, Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir, Unicorn Dance Party is an inclusive new video series about finding the joy within us. Everyone has an inner unicorn, but sometimes it takes a bit of dancing to bring it out. 

For all ages.



EVERYTHING’S A MOVING PICTURE - how to set the scene with video

A week of workshops - 30 June, 1 July and 2 July 2020 at 11am

Workshops with leading Scottish theatre audio visual designer Lewis den Hertog using video to tell stories with “stock” and archive footage, making your own footage at home and being creative with text and subtitles to make shows more interesting for people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.  

For ages 10 plus

This series celebrates and offers fee-based employment to a number of talented freelance artists, technicians and practitioners who work regularly behind the scenes on the creation of world-class Scottish theatre.

All the Play Dates videos will be hosted together on the National Theatre of Scotland website so families can catch up with all the activities. In addition, a selection of curated online resources, including artistic demonstration videos, relating to previous National Theatre of Scotland projects will be hosted online.

Further summer Play Dates activities will be announced over the coming weeks. 

#playdates #playathome

Where to watch PLAY DATES



Friday 15 May Issue Web Only


Latest local news, Covid-19 updates, helplines and much more: Lochbroom radio 96.8 FM and 102.2 FM weekdays 9.03 am and around 4.42pm.

Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:



Due to lack of space, we are unable to publish the usual planning applications, building warrants etc.

To view these, please go to


Changes to advice on going outdoors     More opportunity to exercise.

The advice on how often people can venture outdoors changed in Scotland from Monday 11 May so people can go outside more than once a day to exercise. This activity should continue to be undertaken close to home. Those going out to exercise should either go alone or with members of their household.

The change does not allow people to mix with people from different households, to gather in groups, or to go out to relax outdoors. 

The First Minister agreed the change following scientific advice using the framework set out by the Scottish Government last month. It was agreed that the timing was right to make the change because the impact on the vital R number – the rate of reinfection of COVID-19 – would be very limited.

The First Minister said: “The core principles of lockdown in Scotland remain the same, people should stay at home to help save lives and protect the NHS.

“It is vitally important that anyone going out maintains physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in order to ensure we don’t lose ground.  We have also encouraged the public to consider wearing a facial covering in enclosed spaces, where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact people outwith their household.

“It also remains vitally important that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 – a new and continuous cough or a high temperature - isolates themselves for seven days, and that anyone else in a household where someone has symptoms, isolates for 14 days.

“This change on going outside will be monitored carefully and reviewed in order to assess the effects on physical distancing and infection spread.”

Dr Rebecca Helliwell, Associate Medical Director for the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership said,  “Even though the NHS is busy with Covid-19, we are here to help with other conditions and I would reiterate the Scottish Government advice that people should not ignore early warning signs of serious conditions and if they have new symptoms then they should get them checked out either by contacting their GP, calling NHS24 on 111 if it’s out of hours, or if symptoms are urgent, by attending their local A&E.  In emergencies you should still dial 999.”   

Physical distancing measures are steps everyone should take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the spread of Covid-19.  Do not meet others outside your household, even friends or family.  You can get further information from the NHS Inform website




Sent by James Nash, regular visitor to Ullapool for 50 years.

“The beautiful thing about peace: everybody can be friends”




from the Fairtrade Foundation's Live Fair campaign: "Keep Apart. Stay United".  

In West Coast Deli: lots of different Fairtrade coffees and Kilombero Rice!  Also Fairtrade brown sugar!


2019 Highland Book Prize awarded collectively to short-listed authors “as a celebration of life, literature and community”

We are thrilled to announce that the joint winners of the 2019 Highland Book Prize are: The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel by David Gange, Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie,  Spring by Ali Smith, and Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt..  At the request of the short-listed authors, all four books were collectively awarded the 2019 Highland Book Prize on Sat 9 May, 2020.  All four authors agreed to donate their prize money to Highland Food Bank. 


Dear Eds,

We are currently writing a recipe book for The Seafood Shack which is coming out this November. 

Not only do we want to share with everyone all our recipes but we want to share information on Ullapool’s fishing industry. 

We are calling out to anyone who may have a fun, thrilling or even a sad story or tale to tell, whether you’re a fishermen or a local, anyone who’s just got a good story to tell!  We would love to share it in our book! 

Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you so much, Kirsty and Fenella. 

Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may? 

I have an interesting & varied work history, (many strings to my bow…some in tune!) I was reminded of one former job by a recent advert for a BBC 4 art programme, I was once (time for a drum roll)…a life model!

I was already a (portrait) model, (famed for my colourful shirts) at our local adult education centre, an old friend & fellow pub quiz team member, Bill was a tutor there. I was used to posing & being (more or less) static for two, one hour stretches & luckily as it turned out, had no “hang ups” about posing nude. I volunteered to assist a colleague of Bills (Anne) whose usual male model (Tony) was recovering from a road accident. I turned up fully prepared (washed, shaved, hair combed…with dressing gown) I undressed behind a modesty screen (straight out of a carry on film or Brian Rix farce) to face the class! 

The poses were simple, Rodin’s “Thinker” & (a very similar) “bored bloke waiting for a bus!” The class were a nice crowd of 16, aged 18 to 90 (I was 30) with the wonderful 77 years young “Kitty” from Cape Town. Kitty told me she loved “having a real man as (a) model!”Tony was apparently “an Adonis”, with “luxuriant hair like a Greek god” (Whereas I resembled Phil Mitchell!) Kitty’s style reminded me of Leonardo’s sketches, very detailed with flesh tones expressed (literally brought to life) through expertly smudged charcoal I was quite flattered to see my beer belly made literally beautiful

After my first week/two sessions Anne discreetly told me “Tony wears a posing pouch!” 

Tony returned after 6 (fascinating) weeks, the oddest thing from my perspective was that during the canteen coffee breaks I (in dressing gown) stood up (having sat still for almost an hour) while the class (having stood at easels) sat down! Two or three of the finished works (Kitty’s included) graced the walls of the centre for a year or two…fame of a kind?

            Carry on doing the good deeds, don’t fall off & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile…

Bide Cheerful noo,  Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)



Enjoy Puppetry at Home


If you miss visiting the theatre and enjoying puppetry performances then worry not, Puppet Animation Scotland are releasing weekly how-to videos showing how you can craft your very own puppets and mini theatres at home. 

Puppet Animation Scotland Engages Audiences with Fun and Accessible Tutorial Videos

Puppet Animation Scotland bring the wonderful art of puppetry to your home by providing audiences with the opportunity to craft puppets and mini theatres of their own!


Creative Ways to Keep Children Entertained During Lockdown

Have you found yourself running out of ways to keep yourselves and your little ones occupied during lockdown? Puppet Animation Scotland have got it covered. 

Make Home Schooling Fun with Puppet Animation Scotland!

Combine Art and Drama class by crafting puppets and mini theatres with Puppet Animation Scotland



In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, prior to the arrival of hydraulic equipment and suction pumps in the North of Scotland, two crofting men from Achiltibuie specialized in cleaning septic tanks. When a tank required repair or refurbishment, my father, a local building contractor, would hire the pair to empty its contents. This involved removing the fluids with a bucket attached to a rope and then removing solids with a shovel after they had lowered themselves inside into the tank outfitted with the necessary hip waders.

For this undoubtedly foul job, the men charged an exorbitant fee of double the going labour rate for the days work. Allegedly, they also required a bottle of whisky on arrival on site which they drank after the tank lid was removed and they could sit on the tank edge and contemplate the work ahead. They also required a second bottle of whisky to be delivered in the late afternoon along with their fee, once the tank was emptied.

This practice caused some consternation at the Achiltibuie Hotel Bar when the lads, after drinking the second bottle, and still wearing their waders, would enter to spend the fee. They were allowed in during the cooler winter months: the local earthy clientele was greatly entertained by vivid descriptions of tank contents, and there was always the prospect of free drinks.

The sanitary engineers hotly argued that they were unfairly barred from the pub in the summer season. A miasma of foul language would be vented on ‘the tourists’ and the barman.

John Tuach, West Shore Street     April 24, 2020



CreativeWriting at the Macphail Centre

WRITING ASSIGNMENT  7   by Stephen Keeler

I’ve been re-reading some of Rumer Godden’s beautifully-crafted novels.  In one, The River (Michael Joseph, 1946), the following short line caught my imagination.  If it captures yours, write a poem or a short story, for a child you know, which begins with the words:

...the children knew the bazaar intimately; they knew the kite shop where they bought paper kites and sheets of thin exquisite bright paper...

Other suggestions

Write about whatever the word ‘bazaar’ brings to mind.

Write about flying kites on a beach.

Write about your relationship with paper and other craft materials; what you liked making as a child; what you have made with your own children.




Please be aware that under current coronavirus measures there will be no ferry to Isle Martin.

Plans for future work continue and any ideas or memories can be shared on Facebook or email Ailsa on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


A Summer of happy times to remember on Isle Martin

My first time visiting Isle Martin in 2018 sticks in my mind as we went with tiny babies in tow. 

I found that the island draws you back. When the part time Access Co-ordinator post was 

advertised I was interested to get involved and find out more. 

My six-month post, June to November 2019, 2 days a week, was funded by the Coigach and Assynt Living           Landscape Partnership Community Grant Scheme, thanks to players of the National Lottery through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Scottish Natural Heritage.

It was a learning curve, with lots of chances to visit the island. Just the boat trip across is always uplifting. Over the 6 months I have come to realised how much voluntary work goes into making the island work as a community    resource and the importance of support from the communities of Lochbroom and Coigach.

Highlights of my Summer included:

Learning about the islands current, recent and past life stories from all the many locals and visitors who have     connections with Isle Martin.

A day with the Ullapool Out of School Club, hunting for treasure and seeing the island through children’s eyes. 

Welcoming visitors from the Hebridean Princess, who came ashore to learn about the island’s history with Cathy Dagg, explore beaches and woodland and enjoy tasty treats provided by Ullapool Unpacked C.I.C.

Meeting the North of Scotland Archaeological Society volunteers and hearing about their work as they mapped and dug out test pits.

A day with Cathy Dagg, Martha her student archaeologist and other volunteers, helping to uncover an old wall and learning about the history of the mill.

Meeting visitors who came to stay on the island and hearing all the positive feedback about how they had enjoyed their time and what a special place Isle Martin is.

Time spent in the islands community vegetable garden with Em and volunteers picking gooseberries and tasting her delicious homemade cordials.

Watching the wooden shelter bench above the back beach come to life from its starting point of some beautiful, bark stripped island trees to its unveiling. Testament to the abilities of Sean our multi-talented ferryman plus lots of volunteer time and energy.

And finally the Island Open Day in September, celebrating 20 years of community ownership, seeing the board and volunteers pull together to make a simple but enjoyable family event which was busy but relaxed with a great mix of over 170 locals and visitors from near and far.

The IMT board hope to continue to employ an Access Co-ordinator moving forward as an important point of contact for locals and visitors to the area.

Ailsa Strange


SNH warns of increased wildfire risk in North Scotland

After one of the hottest Aprils on record, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are warning of the increased risk of wildfire across most parts of the north of Scotland. This time of year is when the risk of wildfire is at its highest. Local estate keepers and SFRS have already been called in to help extinguish wildfires. 

Although the muirburn season is now closed, fires may start from other causes. Sparks from garden bonfires, the use of sky lanterns or the casually cast aside cigarette butt when exercising outdoors, can all start unwanted fires.

SNH and SFRS are particularly keen to ensure both land managers and the public take extra care to avoid wildfires during these difficult Covid-19 times. Avoiding extra pressure on our stretched emergency services, including SFRS, is crucial during the Coronavirus period, and those injured in fires may run the risk of limited availability of ambulance services and hospital beds.

Station Commander Jason Gardiner, Sutherland District Manager with SFRS, added: “Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires which can cause significant environmental and economic damage. Livestock, farmland, wildlife, woodlands, moors and peatlands can all be devastated by fires - as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities. How people behave can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting, so it’s crucial everyone acts safely and responsibly in rural environments.”

The public can help prevent wildfires in the Highlands by making sure they dispose of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas, as well as being particularly careful when burning garden waste. Advice can be found by visiting the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website at


Sense of Place

Wester Ross Unesco Biosphere


Whilst we are all staying close to home, it’s a great time to think about sense of place. What do you think is special about where you live? Do you have favourite landscapes, wildlife, stories, songs or poems from your local area? 

This multi-media project is part of the PhD research of Zoe Russell from the University of Stirling who is currently studying nature and culture in Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere. Participate by sending your photographs, diary entries, short videos or stories about life in Wester Ross. The aim is to collect materials that highlight and celebrate the diversity of the region for Zoe's research and to produce a sense of place video for all to enjoy at the end of the project.

You can send anything at all that you are happy to share. With your submission consider adding a short description of what you've sent and why you’ve chosen it. You can choose to be anonymous, or have your name to appear with your submission. Remember to #staylocal and use what you already have available at home if you can't get out to your favourite spot just now. 

To make a submission or get more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also post on Social Media using the hashtag #SenseofPlaceWRB and #WeAreWesterRoss. Tag @WesterRossBios on Twitter, find WesterRossBiosphere on Facebook, or westerrossbiosphere on Instagram.




From 11 May, schools and families can access online teaching resources for Scottish Opera’s popular primary schools production, Fever!

Created especially for children in primaries 5, 6 and 7, the show, which was first performed by Scottish Opera in 2011, features music by Alan Penman and lyrics by Allan Dunn. A staple of many Scottish schools’ calendars, this is the very first time an online version of the tour has been made available, bringing the funny and fast-moving story to living rooms up and down the country, culminating in a nationwide virtual performance at the end of June.   

It follows a young boy who becomes ill with a mysterious disease, and his doctors desperately try to find a cure. Meanwhile, members of the press rush to the hospital, clamouring for a big story. With the possibility of a worldwide epidemic, all they care about is the scoop. As the doctors try to calm the situation, a possible cure is discovered and injected into the boy, and that’s when the story really takes off.

Until 15 June, audio teaching tracks and videos, lyrics and activity materials, covering topics including creative writing, science experiments and tips on how to make props and costumes from home, will be posted on the Scottish Opera website. These feature seasoned Primary Schools Tour cast members Lucy Hutcheson and Alan McKenzie, who built on existing teaching materials by making new recordings from home during lockdown. Illustrations are by Iain Piercy. The resources can be used by teachers as part of their weekly activities with classes, or by parents for their children at home, not as part of the school curriculum.

Fever! takes pupils on an exciting journey, learning the benefits that biomedical science offers humanity, looking at the basic mechanics of the human body, infections and viruses, and exploring the impact of press and media on today’s society, including fake news. It designed to help teachers deliver core elements of the Curriculum of Excellence such as social studies, history, technologies, literacy and citizenship.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: ‘For people of all ages who think opera plot lines can’t be relevant to the present day, there isn’t a more powerful example of the benefits using music and the other expressive arts to support cross curricular education, than Scottish Opera’s Primary Schools opera; Fever!

‘In the context of the current pandemic, and updated and adapted for online participation, the subject matter is perfectly balanced between a fantastical and accessible musical story that youngsters (whether at home or still at school) can enjoy interacting with, underpinned by an age appropriate message explaining the principles of microbiology and virology.

‘Added to which, is the opportunity to help our children and young people explore the increasingly worrying phenomenon known as ‘fake news’. Equipping them with the skills to recognise and challenge fake news is widely acknowledged as a key coping mechanism for life in the 21st century, and it’s all wrapped up in one funny and fact filled opera experience.’

To access Fever! resources from May 11, visit




Funding to connect the most vulnerable.

A new £5 million programme will offer an internet connection, training and support, and a laptop or tablet to vulnerable people who are not already online during the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Connecting Scotland programme will connect 9,000 more people who are considered at clinically high risk themselves so they can access services and support and connect with friends and family during the pandemic.

Those who take part in the programme will be paired with a ‘digital champion’ to support them for six months while they get connected and find the information they need.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“Access to the internet is a real lifeline during these difficult times, so we want to support people to get online and stay connected through this project.

“The advice is clear that we need to stay at home, but for those shielding and in a high risk group, and not online, we know this is difficult and can increase isolation and loneliness at a time they already feel vulnerable and might be missing other support.

“The internet helps us to keep in touch with friends and family and is an important way to find information on support services during this challenging time. This £5 million investment will bring 9,000 more people online over the coming months, and help people best manage the impact that coronavirus is having on their lives.”

Local authorities and the third sector will lead on identifying people to receive devices, distributing them and providing training and support.

SCVO Chief Executive Anna Fowlie said:

“For most of us, technology has played a crucial role in keeping us connected to friends and family, informed and entertained, and able to continue with learning and work. However, there are people that can’t access the benefits of being online because of the affordability of kit and connectivity, or the confidence and skills to be able to use technology effectively. This additional investment will go a long way towards reducing that digital divide and ensuring everyone can benefit from being online.”


HIGHLANDS ARCHIVE IMAGES: Members of the public are asked to help identify Scotland’s archives

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has asked the public to help identify over 5,000 archive images which are now available online for the first time.

In 2019-20, over 170,000 archive items from the HES archives were digitised, with the images now being added to Canmore – the online catalogue of HES archives.

The new online records include digitised copies of photographic negatives and printed photographs from the Scottish Development Department (SDD) which was formed in 1962. The archives showcase rural and urban Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s, from crofts in the Highlands and farms in Orkney to large estates in Fife and tenements in Glasgow.

The collection gives a rare insight into what life was like throughout Scotland at that time with pub interiors, fashion trends and interior design choices all documented. There are also extensive records of Glasgow and Edinburgh and nearby locales, as well as Scotland’s new towns. Over 5,000 images of locations and building exterior and interiors are currently unidentified as part of this collection, with HES aiming to identify as many as possible with the help of the public.

Also digitised this year were prints relating to significant archaeological digs including images of excavations at historic sites such as Skara Brae in Orkney and Edinburgh Castle.

Approximately 14,000 prints were also digitised from personal research and work by prominent archaeologists such as Dr Euan Mackie, Roger Mercer and Vere Gordon Childe, with the oldest image dating from around 1927.

Lesley Ferguson, Head of Archives at HES, said: “These archives give a unique perspective on civic planning in the 20th century including the development and growth of Scotland’s new towns, while the images of excavations showcase the sites that helped archaeologists unlock the secrets of Scotland’s past – from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know where some of these historic photographs were taken and that’s why we are asking for the public’s help. Perhaps there’s a photo of your street, or your local pub, or even the flat you lived in as a student. Help us discover more of Scotland’s past by visiting Canmore and letting us know if you recognise any of the places documented in these archives.”

Over 1 million archives documenting Scotland’s archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage are currently available on Canmore.

Lesley continues: “By digitising our archives, we’re able to make them available to even more people. Digitisation helps us make heritage accessible to all as well as ensuring the long-term preservation of these important documents and photographs.”

To provide HES with details or locations of its archives, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

For Canmore, visit:

To view a range of unidentified images from the Scottish Development Department archives, visit:

To view highlights from the Scottish Development Department archives, visit:

To view Dr Euan Mackie's archives, visit:


UCT News : Active Schools Coordinator is no longer on furlough

:Work is starting on a Safe Tourism Charter

:Views on a Covid-19 Community Fund wanted


Friday 8 May Issue Web Only


The Ullapool News team has produced a second free printed newsletter this week with financial help from the North Highland Initiative, via the efforts of UCT; many thanks go to all involved in accessing this grant.  Space is very limited but all contributions welcomed via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom"    Marcel Proust


Clear Your Head Campaign

NHS Highland is highlighting the practical things people can do to help them feel better whilst staying at home, acknowledging these are worrying and uncertain times for many.

The national ‘clear your head’ campaign was launched earlier this month offering tips on how you can look after yourself if you feel things are getting on top of you. 

These include things like keeping to a routine; staying active, within the current guidelines, to boost your mood; making time to do the things you enjoy that will take your mind off the news for a while; and keeping in touch with family and friends to ease worry and stay connected.

Dr Ann Galloway, Clinical Director of Psychological Services for NHS Highland, said: “I would like to remind everyone that taking care of our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health during these worrying times. 

Inspector Judy Hill, who recently helped launch a formal partnership between Highlands & Islands Division and the Scottish mental health charity See Me, said: "We are encouraging people to look after themselves and keep an eye on those around them. 

Above all, please know that you are not alone and that there are people who can help. 

If you, or someone you know, need someone to talk to I urge you to visit the Scottish Government website, Health Protection Scotland or NHS Inform for further details."

The website also points to sources of advice including NHS Inform, and helplines including NHS24, Breathing Space, SAMH and the Samaritans – encouraging people to reach out if they need help. For children and young people, the Young Scot website is a brilliant resource




Dear Editors & readers, me again!

Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may? 

             A big thank you for the combined efforts of all Ullapool News staff & the Ullapool Community Trust for the sterling effort you are now holding…a “proper paper version” of the UN! I remember Dad telling me of the Daily Mirror his dad read during the 1940 blitz which was just one folded sheet. It still “went out” with a reassuring combination of pride, defiance & national (or in Ullapool News’s case, community) spirit.

            The current situation reminds me of a different kind of “living under pressure” Izzy & I experienced in the late 80s. For almost 2 years our first shared home was a rented 1st floor flat in a Victorian terrace in the (never a dull moment) part of the town. We had “interesting” neighbours in the flats above & below us for the last 3 months. 

            Trev’ (who looked very Australian) & his girlfriend Tina had the ground floor flat. Trev’ was a large, muscular, straw haired “lad” who looked like a tattooed Ross Kemp (…with hair.) He always wore coloured string vests & shorts (…even in winter!) He had a friendly if intimidating manner, (Tina only ever smiled, yawned & said “alright.”) Trev’ multi tasked: a painter/decorator, odd job man & (as we later discovered) “Pub Gents toilet pharmacist!” Trev’ was a night owl rarely out of bed before 2pm but & a seven nights a week party animal with pumping “music”/sound effects, numerous “short term visitors” & noise until 2 (or 3) every morning! He would always promise to moderate his behaviour…but never quite did.

Vince our upstairs neighbour kept different hours. Vince was a baker (for whom a 5 o’clock start was a “lie in”)…he also had impaired hearing! Vince was a nice enough chap, diminutive, shy & eternally yawning/tired (with a face like David Schwimmer’s.) 

We didn’t get much sleep with a “2am street pharmacy” below us & Vince (whose 4:30 alarm was a harsh buzzer…kept in a pudding basin to “amplify it!”

We got through all that in one piece…this’ll be a doddle!

            Carry on doing the good deeds, stay safe, don’t fall off & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile…

Bide Cheerful noo

Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)


Dear Eds,

Only two hours to go to the Ullapool News deadline and I still don’t know what to write. Does it matter? Why write? I have no answer to that.

Here is a poem by Frank Kafka which a friend sent to me;

     You do not need to leave your room.

      Remain sitting at your table and listen.

      Do not even listen, simply wait.

      Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.

      The world will freely offer itself to you

       to be unmasked. It has no choice.

       It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

   So with that in mind, I set out to feed the hens this morning. It is a short walk. Past the japonika in bloom, the bluebells, the celandines. I find a piece of milky brown eggshell from a small bird on the path. I notice my favourite horse chestnut about to flower. I call to the hens, “ chook, chook, chook” and they answer with a hennish coo. Whew! No visits from foxes or pine martins in the night. And an egg!

   Yes, it all sounds so lovely. Yet I feel this anger inside me. What’s that all about?

     One of my neighbours, yesterday, serenely planting parsnips, called out, “ It must be like how the old people lived, hardly ever leaving Scoraig”. (She means the community of people who lived here before us).

     As I go on my way, I start to imagine how it was really for them. Especially the women. The work must have been relentless, not leaving much time for idle thoughts and in the days before the Glasgow puffer delivered food and fuel, life here must have been such a struggle. Of course there was a strict Christian ethos and the belief that if you were good in this life, content with your lot, your reward would be in Heaven. Three monthly communions which some people walked for miles to attend, must have been occasions of comfort and joy in this life. What if a woman rebelled against the idea that someone in authority knew best?

It seems as if we have lost the ability to be obedient. There is plenty to rebel against in these days of new rules. Almost as if “they”, that is governments, have almost become like churches of old, telling us how to live our lives. I do conform when I know exactly what it is I’m meant to be doing.

   So, although I’m not exactly “ just sitting in solitude” (The Man is pottering about doing useful things while I try to come to terms with my latest angst), the World is still rolling in ecstasy at my feet.



All churches in our area are closed at the moment.  

Here are the contact details for local ministers: 

Lochbroom and Coigach Free Church:  Rev. Lachie Macdonald  tel. 01854 613390  (Services available online via Lochbroom and Coigach Free Church YouTube channel). 

The Church of Scotland:  Rev. Heidi Hercus, tel. 01854 612360 (The Church of Scotland will offer a live service on their Facebook page)

Scottish Episcopal Church: Rev’d Canon Nicholas Court  tel. 01854 612506 (Sunday,11am SEC service via website social media and YouTube)

St Martin's RC Church: Fr Max and Fr James tel.01463 782 232 (daily services



Due to lack of space, we are unable to publish the usual planning applications, building warrants etc.

To view these, please go to



News from An Talla Solais

Online exhibition: Landscape of Place- a different experience from wandering in a gallery, but we hope it will open up new places whilst you are staying at home.

Paperchain, weekly communal art activity.  

Created with our Dolphin Arts Project in mind and shared so that we can all join in behind closed doors.  To sign up for the weekly email or to see the activities so far, see our website 
The good news is that the notice to leave the Gallery has been withdrawn and we are working out what the new normal will look like.



Creative writing at the Macphail Centre


by Stephen Keeler

Last week I should’ve been at the Aubrey Beardsley exhibition at Tate Britain, in London. It’s a shame to think of the whole exhibition, beautifully curated and designed – and entirely unvisited.

Think of a well-known gallery you have visited and of a world-famous piece of art you have seen there. Then write a soliloquy by that work of art. For example, what might the ‘Mona Lisa’ be saying if she could speak? What might The Thinker be thinking? How about The Scream

Write your piece in the form of a stream-of-consciousness outpouring. If you get carried away, you might like to write a series of, say, five pieces and send them to the galleries where the work is hanging. 

Some additional subjects: 

·     The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck

·     The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Joannes Vermeer

·     The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

·     The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

· The Kiss by Auguste Rodin

This activity is based on a Tweet by Dr Niamh NicGhabhann (24 April 2020).



March = 144.4mm.  Mean total for past 13 years = 126.2mm

April = 23.9mm.  Mean total for the past 13 years = 79.2mm


The All Spice Saga. By Craig Maddock. A testament to the patience and dedication of Rosie Maddock

My story begins a few years ago when I had been working permanent night shifts for 12 months. A curious routine developed after each shift which involved my daylight receptors telling me to wake up, battling with the melatonin in my brain telling me to sleep. Having arrived home to an empty and therefore 'unrestricted' house, I would turn on the TV and enter a world of cognitive haze. My chosen viewing was the Good Food Channel, with my favourite being the antics of the Hairy Bikers. 

One of the oft repeated episodes must have really made an impact. The recipe for chicken liver almond pilaf became emblazoned upon my inner eyelids and this was compounded by Rosie telling me (at least once) that she thought it was good when I served it up. My mind took this information and made intricate plans for a restaurant run by me, serving just this dish to thousands of admiring off duty chefs and food critics. 

My strange semi nocturnal routine allowed me to visit the supermarket unsupervised at least once a week, but this I learned wasn't always advisable during the morning twilight zone. It quickly became apparent that the one item I always purchased on these trips was the all spice needed to flavour Rosie's new favourite cuisine. Having acquired many, many jars of all spice, I raised marital tensions slightly by opening all of them and using a smidge from each one. 

Rosie countered this by taping up the least used jars and placing them in obscure dark parts of the kitchen cupboard, but this simply alerted me to a potential shortage, causing an immediate panic buying response at the next opportunity. 

Finally Rosie opted for the nuclear button and announced she was now vegetarian and would therefore not be eating any more chicken livers. The all spice jars now occupied half of our spice rack capacity and this would remain the same for some time. We transported these jars from the Forest of Dean to Ullapool, where they remain in pride of place.

The strange atmosphere created by lockdown has triggered something similar in my brain to the aforementioned cognitive fog. An episode of MasterChef this morning had me reaching for my recipe book. As Rosie stumbled bleary eyed into the kitchen I said excitedly ' I'm going to make a chicken liver recipe in the slow cooker later'. Her response was immediate and dealt a swift blow to my inner Rick Stein. "Make sure you use plenty of bloody all spice" she croaked. 

The recipe I had found uses paprika, so I'm hoping that perhaps one of my Ullapool friends might like a slightly out of date jar of all spice for their own collection? 


New study will establish vital information on COVID-19

The MS Society is looking for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to provide vital information on how coronavirus is affecting them.

MS damages nerves in the body and makes it harder to do everyday things, like walk, talk, eat and think. Having MS alone does not increase your risk of getting Covid-19, but many people with MS are at an increased risk of infection, or severe complications. 

Thousands with the condition are classified as extremely vulnerable, and have been asked by the Government to self-isolate for a period of 12 weeks.

Morna Simpkins, Director of MS Society Scotland, said: “More than 15,000 people live with MS in Scotland, and we are asking every one of them to join this study to help us understand more about Covid-19. There’s so much we don’t know about this virus and only real world data will help us change that. 

“This is a worrying and uncertain time for all of us, but many people living with MS are especially vulnerable, and this study will allow us to support them as best we can.  More people are needed to help researchers fully understand the virus and its impact.”  

Professor Richard Nicholas is co-leading the study, says “This simple online survey can help us identify when and how symptoms of Covid-19 occur in people with MS, so we can provide the best possible guidance on treatment and better support for them in the future.”

To take part, people with MS can visit

For the latest information on how people with MS are affected by Covid-19 visit 

Free MS Society helpline - 0808 800 8000


UCT Headlines: 

UCT secures £27,847 Grant from the Supporting Communities Fund for Covid-19 Activities.

£8000 match funding received for the Community Benefit Fund.

Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:



With over 275 performances and seen by over 40,000 people in 12 countries since opening at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Tailor of Inverness has taken its place as one of the great Scottish theatre productions. 

Dogstar Theatre Online is now making this extraordinary performance available to the public online, as the first in a series of Dogstar performance recordings to be released through Vimeo on Demand.

The Tailor of Inverness, with its cry for victims of war and forced migration everywhere, is "a universal work of theatre" (Sunday Herald)

On Monday 11 MayDogstar Theatre Online will also release Brian Ross’s beautiful, moving documentary, produced by Hopscotch Films. Circling A Fox – The Story of the Tailor of Inverness takes Matthew Zajac’s multi award-winning play and turns it into a genre-bending documentary film that challenges received notions of personal and national identity.

It is vital for small independent companies like Dogstar to find new ways of reaching audiences and new income streams and continue to develop while our theatres are closed.  These outstanding film and theatre experiences will be available to the public £3 to view, £8 to download



The SNP’s Gail Ross, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross has asked the Scottish Government if more powers would be given to Local Authorities to prevent people unnecessarily travelling to The Highlands and other remote and rural areas during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Speaking during a Member’s Virtual Question Time, Ross asked: “There has been a lot of worry, and indeed anger in my constituency since the beginning of lockdown and in other remote and rural areas about people coming to second or holiday homes in order to self-isolate. We know that the police have new powers in this regard but is consideration is being given to empower local authorities to take any additional action?”

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, responded by noting: “I understand exactly why there will be anxiety in areas which have seen people visit when the advice is to the contrary, and that’s been very clear advice that people should avoid travelling unless it is essential

“The First Minister in her update today reiterated that very important message where we are starting to see people feeling a bit frustrated around the restrictions in their life, but it is really critical that we continue to abide by those messages of avoiding unnecessary travel

“That means people who are travelling to second homes, they must not do that, they must avoid travelling unless it is essential, but they must remain in their primary home. The regulations are clear that it is for Police Scotland to enforce the regulations around individual movements and gatherings in public spaces.

“We believe that is the right approach, so we are not at this point considering additional powers for Local Authorities but as ever we always willing to engage and consider new additional ideas to help reiterate and underline those important health messages”

Both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland have stated that you should only leave the house for the following reasons:  Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.  Daily exercise, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household. any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable persson;  Travelling to and from work, but only where you cannot work from home.

Those found breaking restrictions on movement and gatherings can be held liable for a fixed penalty notice ranging from £30-£960. 


Friday 1 May Issue Web Only


Paper issue - free newsletter during lockdown!

This is a collaboration between Ullapool Community Trust and the Ullapool News, bringing you information plus some of the familiar features from your weekly paper.

We were keen to produce a paper of some sort as we are aware that not everyone can access local news and information digitally. 

Each week there will be a page of information from UCT regarding the Covid-19 crisis, the latest advice and guidance and local community and statutory provision.

One thing you won’t find in this newsletter is ads as it is funded by a grant from HIE via UCT for which we are very grateful.

Latest local news, Covid-19 updates, helplines and much more: Lochbroom radio 96.8 FM and 102.2 FM weekdays 9.03 am and around 4.42pm.

Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:

Many thanks to all these outlets for their help in the distribution of the newsletter.  If you have difficulty obtaining a copy, please phone 01854 613334 (leave a message if no-one is there to take your call).

Take care and keep safe.

Link to Lochbroom FM radio interview




£500 prize for local music inspired by Highlands and Islands nature

The deadline is looming for In Tune With Nature, a contest calling on musicians of all genres – whether rock, rap, folk, classical or anything in between – to show their love of nature by writing music inspired by the coasts and waters of Scotland’s beautiful nature reserves.

Beinn Eighe, Creag Meagaidh and the Isle of Rum National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are among the 10 nature reserves featured in the competition. The deadline for entries is the 31 May.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Fèis Rois have partnered up on this first-ever competition for Scotland to inspire people to connect with nature through music. Entrants are invited to compose a piece of music inspired by one of 10 national nature reserves across Scotland.

The competition, called In Tune with Nature, will be judged by a panel of well-known faces from the Scottish music industry – including Julie Fowlis, Vic Galloway, Gill Maxwell and Karine Polwart – and is part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Winners will receive a £500 cash prize, as well as the opportunity to take part in live performances throughout the year. Each winner will also make a film on the nature reserve which inspired their music with a professional film-maker.

Entries can be in any style of music, and may or may not include lyrics. References to local culture, language and tradition are encouraged. New Gaelic songs are particularly encouraged in the Beinn Eighe and Creag Meagaidh areas, as are songs written in Scots and regional dialects in other areas.

For more information about the contest and the NNRs involved, as well as how to enter, see .




Good afternoon, 

With regret I write to advise that due to current circumstances Ullapool Rotary Club have decided to cancel this year's Pier Day planned for the 11th July.

We have written to all stallholders and just hope that we can look forward to having this important fund-raising event next year.

All the best Ian MacMillan, President Ullapool Rotary Club


Dear Eds,

The Kirk Building may be closed but the church is alive, active and well! If you have access to the internet Rev Heidi is doing a weekly Wednesday thought of the day on her facebook page Heidi Jones Hercus or on the Lochbroom Ullapool Church of Scotland Page. 

Worship Services are being filmed in the Kirk with the clavanova and then aired at 11 AM Sunday on Facebook or You tube. If you would like the Youtube link sent to you please email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you will be added to the list. 

While I can't do home visits just now please do call 612360 if you need a chat or help at this difficult time.  If you would like the transcript of Sunday services send me an email or call.  We are here to help! 

Hang in there friends, stay safe, wash your hands, stay in if you can, be kind, look out for each other! This storm will Pass! God Bless!

Rev Heidi


Good morning kind readers,

This morning, on my way up to feed the hens, (you’ll think I am obsessed with these hens) not laying yet but surviving, I noticed my predator deterrents flashing in the sunlight. I was thinking that the only way you know whether a deterrent works or not is when it doesn’t work.

  Perhaps you remember those anti-deer whistles that were for sale some years ago. They were mounted on the bumper of the car and as you drove along, the wind going through them whistled and were thought to drive deer away from the road. Reputed to keep moose from straying in the US, they were sure to work here, weren’t they? I wonder why I haven’t seen the whistles for sale any more.

  It reminded me of a story about Mullah Nasruddin who, one day, was scattering white pebbles around his house. His neighbour called out (from two metres away probably) “Why are you scattering stones around your house?” “Why? To keep the tigers away, of course”, was the reply. The neighbour thought a bit, scratched his head, (then brought out the hand sanitizer to clean his hands). “But there aren’t any tigers around here”. “ That’s because I scatter stones”, said Nasruddin and went scattering his pebbles.

  Then I started thinking about all the things we do in our lives. Wondering whether we’re being taken for a ride by my old whipping boy, Capitalism. Of course some things are necessary but perhaps we have been lulled into not thinking for ourselves. Insurance schemes etc. Don’t get me going! Rant over.

  Here’s another Nasruddin story. It goes something like this.

  Nasruddin was taking his donkey laden with straw across the border to another country. “What are you carrying?” Demanded the border guard. “Why, nothing” was Nasruddin’s reply. “I don’t believe you“, said the guard and proceeded to search Nasruddin and his donkey even searching through the pile of straw. He found nothing and gestured Nasruddin and his donkey across the border still looking suspicious.

  The next week, Nasruddin was again taking his donkey across the border and the guard searched more diligently even looking in the donkey’s mouth.

   This went on week after week with the guard being so embarrassed at not finding anything that he would hide in his hut when he saw Nasruddin and his donkey appearing.     

   Some months later, the guard espied a prosperous looking Nasruddin in the market place. “You’re looking as if you’ve done well for yourself. What’s your secret. What were you smuggling across the border all that time ago?” “Why donkeys of course”, laughed Nasruddin and went on his way.

   There are lots more stories about Nasruddin and they always make me laugh but have a nugget of wisdom that might still be relevant today. Maybe. Looking beyond Appearances, for that one.

    I seem to have entered a phase of “can’t be bothered-ness”. Lots of things to do but not much enthusiasm. My sister says the same and when asked what she is doing today, she replied, “Cleaning the tops of my kitchen cupboards”. “You should see my kitchen ceiling,” I said, “Any black lacy underwear I might once have worn is nothing to the black lacy cobwebs on my kitchen ceiling”.

    Sometimes I feel such a slut. I heard the definition of a slut being someone, who, when painting a window frame, finds an old toffee stuck there, and paints over it.

     When the days were dark and cold, I might have felt like a spot of spring cleaning but now Nature has done such a miraculous job of springing to glorious colour and life again, I might just leave it to her.



Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may? 

I’m quite sure of two things this week, Ullapool’s people are doing their community spirited best for all & those same people don’t want any “Doom laden C----19 stuff.” TV & all things media (more anti-social than “social”) provide more than enough of that! 

My theme this week is distances related to the speed of light. We are probably aware of the “Light year” which is the distance light travels in 365.25 days (5,880,000,000,000 miles…nearly 6 trillion!).

I wondered about other well-known/much used time periods & how far light would “get” during those…here goes! A light hour, light day, light weekend, light bank holiday weekend, light long weekend, light week & a light fortnight…

The speed of light is 670,600,000 mph (or 186,282 miles/second) 

A Light hour = 3600 x 186,282 = 670,615,200 miles

A Day 24 x 60 x 60 x 186,282 = 16,094,764,800 miles

A Weekend 48 x 60 x 60 x 186,282 = 32,189,529,600 miles

A Bank Holiday Weekend 72 x 60 x 60 x 186,282 = 48,284,294,400 miles

A Long weekend 96 x 60 x 60 x 186,282 = 64,379,059 miles

A Week 168 x 60 x 60 x 186,282 =112,663,353,600 miles

A Fortnight 335 x 60 x 60 x 186,282 = 224,656,092,000 miles 

Pluto is 4.67 billion miles away on average which is 3.45 times that distance, so one couldn’t quite make 2 return trips there in a day, (Not that it is a “proper planet” any longer!)

PS Tony (Morefield) Oulton, the curry experiment worked very well thank you!

Carry on doing the good deeds, don’t fall off & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile…

Bide Cheerful noo

Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)






Weather for Friday 24th April – Monday 28th April

Max temp 16.1C = 61F min temp 3.3C = 38F


Friday saw the last day of the brilliant sunny spell of wall to wall sunshine.
Saturday saw the return of the cloud that had been absent recently, and Sunday brought the rain.
Winds remained generally light and, though heavy in short showers, the rain was never the dominant feature and I’m sure much welcomed by gardeners and farmers alike.
It’s certainly been a very sunny April to date. The Met Office are saying the best ever.  All I can tell you is it’s been the best in the last eight years.  SB



 Urgent medical help still available. New campaign urges people to seek medical help for urgent health issues which are not related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dr Carey Lunan, a working GP and Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland, said: “The NHS is open and it is safe. Appointments may feel a little different – they might happen on the phone or even by videolink. If people need to be seen face-to-face, we can arrange that too.

“Accident and Emergency units are also still open and able to help. We are here for patients and we want to hear from anyone if they have an urgent medical problem.”




Call for budding artists to create Mesolithic maps

Young, budding artists have been offered the chance to become a character in new artwork created to support Forestry and Land Scotland’s Into the Wildwoods learning resource – by drawing their own Mesolithic map. 

The two lucky artists – apprentice Mesolithic Map Makers – will be turned into a cartoon illustration and make their own appearance in the distant past. Their maps will also be professionally reproduced by artist Alex Leonard.

Into the Wildwoods looks at the ways in which our Mesolithic ancestors understood the complex habitats and ecosystems in which they hunted and gathered. It’s an engaging and fun way to help us understand our own place within the natural world.

Matt Ritchie, FLS archaeologist, said;

“Archaeology is a fascinating subject that captures the imagination of young and old alike. 

“What we’ve done with Into the Wildwoods is provide a storyline and a mix of creative activities and discussion ideas to help anyone with an interest in our ancient past discover the world of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and explore the interconnected ideas of habitats, natural resources and seasonal change.

The resource is available online and will provide an unusualtopic for anyone looking to keep their kids busy at home.

“We’re looking for young artists to depict an imaginary landscape and the various resources that can be found in it. It also needs to include a short caption describingtheir imaginary tribe and the route that they would take to find food and resources to survive – and to avoid the dangers!

“We don’t mind if it’s drawn, painted or a photograph of put together from things found in the woods, such as sticks and stones – even feathers and bones. So get creative!”

Anyone between the ages of 8 and 13 who reckons they could be an apprentice Mesolithic Map Maker, should send a photograph of their map to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 1st June.



People in the Highlands encouraged to check eligibility for Funeral Support Payment 

Bereaved people in Scotland may be able to receive a contribution towards the costs of a funeral to help ease the financial pressure during COVID-19. 

Funeral Support Payment is available to people who are on certain low-income benefits or tax credits and are the nearest relation to the person who has died.  

The payment can help towards burial or cremation fees, some travel costs, and other expenses such as funeral director fees, a coffin, or flowers.

The Scottish Government Funeral Support Payment widened eligibility so that around 40% more people can access this benefit. 

Social Security Scotland Chief Executive David Wallace said: “There's no need to wait for a decision from the DWP before applying, we can check with them later.

“Don’t delay in getting in touch. We know that dealing with a bereavement is already stressful and that it can be hard to talk about. That is why we have specially trained team who can help you through the application process and we can go at the pace that is best for you.”




It all began with a walk up the river Kirkaig last autumn, there were nine of us, all ages from grandparents to grandchildren and we had a pack of dogs, lurchers, Inuit’s and a young English shepherd pup for whom it was quite a long way. It was another glorious day in a particularly fine season, a long wet summer had been followed by a balmy autumn with little wind, the sun shone and the leaves lingered longer than usual on the trees; the colours were extra ordinary, well not really ordinary at all, they glowed as if lit from within.

In this strange time I thought that you may enjoy looking at my recent paintings.

BETULACEAE. The Lady of the Wood
All the images are also on my  web site.




Creative writing at the Macphail Centre

WRITING ASSIGNMENT  5  by Stephen Keeler

If you could have one thing back that you have owned and lost, what would it be? Now write about it.

Some additional subjects for a short poem or a concise piece of prose: 

·  My/our first phone   ·  My/our first phone-call    ·  My/our first car   .   My first kiss

Shape your poem by deciding, in advance, how many lines it will have, or how many stanzas. Have a go writing an acrostic poem.

An acrostic poem is one where the first letter of each line spells a word vertically, like this:

            T he phone-box on the corner of our street

            E ventually fell into disuse.  Sad in a way.           

            L eaning against the glass while talking to you, I used to 

            E xhale and then draw what passed for rude

            P ictures on the little mirror, with my forefinger, 

            H olding a stack of pennies, ready to press Button ‘A’.  You

            O nly lived a mile away but it might as well have been the

            N orth Pole – and it sometimes felt like it

            E venings in November being not really conducive to

            S mall talk and sweet nothings. 

Some suggested words for your acrostic poem: LOCKDOWNISOLATIONSOCIAL DISTANCE,

Have fun. Stay safe. Stay sane!





Like so many other events and festivals our 16th festival, due on 8-10 May, has been cancelled. So we thought we would bring a two hour taster of what might have been - although we know it will not be the same as being here at the real thing. There will be no craic, camaraderie or cake – but there will be great writers, poets and music. We hope it will tide you over until May 2021.

On Saturday 9 May at 7.30pm Words from the West will be ‘live’ on our Facebook page - Ullapool Book Festival. And here is what you will see and hear.

Author sessions on screen – 

Chris Dolan’s new book ‘Everything Passes, Everything Remains – Freewheeling through Spain, Song and Memory’ (due to be published in the autumn) is a kind of travelogue of 45 years’ obsession with Spain, pedalling through some less well known parts of that country. Chris will be in conversation with Moira Leven from their home in Glasgow.

Kerry Hudson’s latest book and memoir Lowborn was a Radio 4 Book of the Week and Guardian and Independent Book of the Year. It was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year.  Lowborn takes her back to the towns of her childhood as she investigates her own past and what it means to be poor in Britain today.  She will be speaking from Prague to the journalist Ruth Wishart in Scotland.

Donald S Murray’s novel As the Women Lay Dreaming, inspired by the effects of the Iolaire disaster of 1st January 1919, was the subject of a documentary on BBC Alba and featured on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book. On Hogmanay 1918 many waited at Stornoway harbour to bring their men home from serving in WW1. They had boarded the Iolaire eager to get home. 202 men and crew did not make it when the overcrowded yacht hit rocks known as The Beasts of Holm, within sight of the harbour. Donald will be speaking from his home in Shetland to Mark Wringe, presenter of BBC Radio nan Gaidheal’s book programme, in Skye.

There will be three new poems read and recorded by their writers – George Gunn, Jim Carruth and Donald S Murray.

We will also be joined, via tracks from their album Waves Rise over Quiet Water, by two of Scotland’s finest young traditional musicians Joseph Peach (Achiltibuie) and Charlie Grey (Fort Augustus).



 The cherry blossom, traditionally out during Ullapool Book Festival, is looking beautiful!   

Nature carries on, blissfully unaware of these changed times.  Eds


High Life Highland online resources for health and wellbeing

To help provide extra support for people living in the Highlands during the current period, High Life Highland has extended the range of services and classes available to communities online, using technology and innovation to create new and exciting activities. 

Over the past month, the Charity’s teams have put together an engaging range of online content to support the health and wellbeing of people living in the Highlands, including: online classes and a range of free newspapers, books and interactive archive sessions suitable for all. Interest is high, with over 26,000 engaging through its social media pages in the last week alone. For details of activities, with clickable links to the resources, visit: . 

The Charity made the difficult decision to close all archive centres, libraries, leisure centres, museums and swimming pools across the Highlands in line with both Scottish Government and UK Government’s advice to minimise social contact in mid-March. Since then, staff have been finding ways for people living in the Highlands to continue to access cultural services and classes online where possible, recognising the importance of these to help maintain a healthy body and mind during this challenging period. 

The services offered include:

  • Online fitness classes from some of High Life Highland’s own instructors, prepared during the time of the lockdown using available equipment and often from the instructor’s home environment.  
  • ‘workoutathome’, a way to build your own fitness routine available at:
  • ‘Learn with Lorna’, a series of sessions where people can find out more about the work of the Highland Archive Centre with Lorna Steele, a community engagement officer with High Life Highland. To date, there have been over 10,700 views of the series. 
  • ‘Live’ Bookbug sessions for young people created through High Life Highland’s Library service, enjoying over 9,400 views so far. 

In addition: 

  • All library book loans have been automatically extended and overdue charges have been removed from 1 March onwards. 
    • Libraries already have a superb range of free e-books, audio books, newspapers, magazines and learning resources available; anyone new to the service can register online at to view these services right away. 
    • Supporting the health and wellbeing of everyone in our communities, High Life Highland staff in Adult and Youth Services are ensuring they keep in touch with vulnerable adults and young people on a regular basis, often daily. 
    • Participants of our Cardiac Rehab, Parkinson’s Exercise, Falls Prevention and Move More (support for people affected by cancer) activities are receiving a personal contact by phone or email from HLH instructors, and supported to continue with their physical activities in a safe and sustainable way, to help maintain and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

High Life Highland teams have also been supporting communities through:

  • Guides on how to use online communication tools such as Skype, Zoom and others have been created to help people keep in touch. 
  • Activity learning kits for young adults. 
  • Activities for young people through Facebook and other social media, such as ‘live’ bedtime stories and an online Lego club

High Life Highland will continue to listen to our communities and develop more ways for people to access cultural services and classes and will provide new opportunities through the website and social media channels as they become available.


Friday 24 April Issue Web Only



Parish Hub: Non-perishable food packages delivered to those in need, eg self-isolating, shielding or with mobility issues.  Also collection and delivery of shopping, prescriptions, dog walking etc.

Ruth: 01854 612790, Yvonne: 01854 612789, Robbie: 01854 612749, Pam: 01854 613736

Local Community Hub: Highland Council has set up a Local Community Hub to distribute single portion frozen meals and support to the most vulnerable and at-risk people within this region.  

Call the Highland Council Helpline now if you need assistance: 0300 303 1362



COVID-19: Assistance with form filling

There is a lot of help for individuals and businesses, most of which require a form to be completed either online or paper.

If you need help or guidance on form filling the following Community Councillors are available to help:

Topher Dawson  Tel: 612342   Mob: 07971 448 003 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Charlie Macaulay Tel: 612164   Mob: 07795 420 101 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pete Harrison Tel: 612568  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David Crook Tel: 613144 Mob: 07519 592 406           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Angie Ford Tel: 612551   Mob: 07739 892 322 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seoras Burnett Tel: 633757 Mob: 07879 203 239   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">



Latest local news, Covid-19 updates, helplines and much more: Lochbroom radio 96.8 FM and 102.2 FM weekdays 9.03 am and around 4.42pm.

Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:

The Gairloch and District Times already has a digital version of their fortnightly paper, which, for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, will be free of charge:



Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:

The Gairloch and District Times already has a digital version of their fortnightly paper, which, for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, will be free of charge:



All churches are closed in our area

***Services are available online via the Lochbroom and Coigach Free Church YouTube channel. 

***The Church of Scotland will offer a live service on their Facebook page

***Scottish Episcopal Church: Every Sunday at 11am the SEC will broadcast a service via its social media and YouTube


Public urged to follow Covid-19 Public Access Guideline

Walkers, joggers and cyclists are being urged to act responsibly when out for their local exercise during Covid-19 restrictions, with extra consideration for people working outdoors.  Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has provided guidance to help people safely access the outdoors during the pandemic. This emphasises the importance of social distancing and, as always, following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The new guidance also contains advice for land managers.

Spring is a crucial time for many key outdoor workers and a social media campaign will provide key advice on responsible access, which includes following all reasonable requests to avoid fields with young or pregnant livestock, farmyards and other busy areas. Dog owners are asked to keep their dogs close at heel or on a lead when on farmland and it is advised to try and plan routes that avoid the need to touch surfaces such as gates.

Pete Rawcliffe, Head of People and Nature at SNH, said: “Exercise and fresh air is important for our well-being and we encourage people to make the most of their local walks or cycles during restrictions. But we need to make sure that we are still following social distancing rules when outdoors, and that we respect the health and safety of farmers and others working on the land. If we follow Scottish Government advice and stay local for our exercise, make use of the paths and open spaces near to us and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access code, we will be doing our bit to beat Covid-19 and end restrictions”.

For full guidance, including downloadable signs for land managers, and posters for those wishing to support the online campaign visit


New guidance to support the home learning of children and young people during the new term has been issued by the Scottish Government

It aims to build on the significant amount of positive work that has already been undertaken by teachers and education professionals across Scotland to support learning at home, as well as the advice and resources that are already available.

The guidance covers three main areas:

  • learning and teaching at home: this includes support for digital learning; children who are likely to be disproportionately impacted; and learners with additional support needs
  • parental involvement and engagement: this includes details of local and national support and how local authorities/schools will require a different approach to being updated on a child’s development
  • support for teachers and school leaders: including advice on learning resources; supporting pupils’ and staff health and wellbeing; and on leading colleagues and teams during this period

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Given the unprecedented circumstances, we cannot predict when schools in Scotland will reopen. However, our focus is that while schools are closed, learning continues, and we all have a role to play. “Local authorities, schools, teachers and practitioners know their learners really well and have shown extraordinary dedication and professionalism in adapting and making decisions in the best interests of the children and young people.

“While we do not expect teachers, parents and families to replicate schools or classrooms, we are committed to working with all partners in Scotland’s education system to protect pupils’ wellbeing, and ensure learning can continue in an appropriate way, wherever possible.

“The guidance is aimed at those working in our education system. We are working closely with the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) on further advice, aimed specifically at parents and carers, which will be published in the coming days.”

Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) General Secretary Larry Flanagan, said:

“The EIS also welcomes the recognition that supporting the health and well-being of pupils and staff is a critical aim, as without that, maintaining engagement with education at any level becomes even more difficult.”

The guidance is aimed at those working in our education system. We are working closely with the National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS) on further advice, aimed specifically at parents and carers, which will be published in the coming days.

Guidance: Supporting Pupils, Parents and Teachers – Learning During Term 4 is aimed at those working in Scotland’s education system.

The guidance has been developed by the Scottish Government and Education Scotland, with advice and input from COSLA, Solace, The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) and professional associations.

Find Practitioner support for Online Remote Learning.

The Parentzone Scotland website continues to be updated with relevant information on home learning for parents.




SNP MSP Gail Ross has encouraged people in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross to be aware of scams and fake news following an increase in reports across Scotland about scam emails, text messages, and doorstep callers. 

Across the UK there is evidence fraudsters are increasingly targeting members of the public, as well as organisations of all sizes, with emails, texts, telephone calls, social media messages and online shopping scams relating to the outbreak.

Police Scotland have now launched a new Shut Out Scammers resource to protect the public and businesses from COVID-19 related scams. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also launched an email reporting service, which the public can use to report any suspicious activity.


Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival announces online programme

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival has announced a special programme of online activity, including live-streamed events, film screenings, and five new artist commissions. 

SMHAF’s online programme will begin in May, when this year’s festival was due to take place, encompassing Mental Health Awareness Week (18th-24th May). It is designed to support the festival’s creative communities, regional networks and dedicated audiences, and to create opportunities for engagement and conversation at a time when live events are not possible.

Programme highlights include Eat. Move. Sleep. Repeat, an online project curated by artists Emma Jayne Park and Emily Furneax, exploring how we can better support ourselves, and each other. Taking place over four weekly sessions, the project provides an opportunity for artists to come together in a safe and accessible environment to share in conversations around creative practice and strategies for survival during this period of isolation. Each session will focus on the work of an invited artist who will explore either food, movement, sleep or ritual in their work.  They will share an example of their work, lead a creative task and answer questions about their practice, leading to broader discussions with those in attendance.   

SMHAF is also supporting a new version of Though This Be Madness, by Skye Loneragan, which was to have toured Scotland as part of this year's festival. A theatre show set in a lounge room, Though This Be Madness features a recovering mum who is attempting to tell you many tales of sisterhood struggles with mental health. The show is now undergoing an experimental re-framing to see how it can be shared with other lounge rooms, live online. Skye will be sharing quirky, questioning process-bites along the way via SMHAF's website. 

SMHAF will also commission five new artistic responses to the theme ‘my experience of isolation’, which can be showcased online. In the midst of the Coronavirus lockdown, we want to amplify the creative voices of people who already understand isolation, in the interests of solidarity, empathy and the sharing of wisdom and experience. The successful proposals will be compellingly presented and have something insightful to say about the causes and effects of isolation and mental health.

SMHAF is also supporting Bijli Productions to develop a film version of One Mississippi, a theatre show about how childhood trauma shapes men's adult lives, taking them to breaking point. One Mississippi was to have toured Scotland as part of this year’s festival.

Further highlights from SMHAF’s online programme include:

-       Selected screenings from the SMHAF international film programme, including an announcement of the winners of our International Film Awards.

-       Filmed versions of theatre shows previously seen at SMHAF, including Super Awesome World by Amy Conway, Electrolyte by Wildcard Theatre, winner of last year’s Mental Health Fringe Award, and Hysteria by Julia Taudevin, all showing online for a limited time.

-       SMHAF Socials, a regular online gathering for artists to share coping strategies, hosted by the festival’s associate artist Emma Jayne Park.

-       Showcases of work from across our regional programmes, including a digital exhibition. 

-       An illustrated e-book and online showcase for our Writing Awards, in partnership with Bipolar Scotland.

SMHAF is also pleased to announce a new partnership with the Northern Irish Mental Health Arts Festival (NIMHAF) that will see the festivals collaborate and share content and ideas between the nations. NIMHAF will take place from 18th-24th May. 

The SMHAF website, and all of the festival’s social media channels, will be regularly updated with programme information.

For more information about SMHAF’s online programme, please visit:



Dear Eds,


A Vision…..Streaming now online

Back in 1988 my father James Douglas was commissioned to write a work for Organ to be performed at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. 

This became ‘A Vision’ and was performed by world-renowned Organist Michael Bonaventure and received thunderous applause in appreciation of its performance. 

In 2000, the decision was made to record this fantastic Organ work and it was subsequently released on a CD also called 'A Vision' by Caritas Records. 

Today I am thrilled to announce that this work is now available to download or stream from iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and Google Play Music. 

My own experience of this significant work comes from hearing its' Edinburgh and UK Premiere in St. Mary's Cathedral in Palmerston Place. I was lucky enough to sit in the choir stalls immediately opposite the organ console and I was completely blown away by this mesmerising and majestic piece of music. 

The CD is also still available online as well at

Katharine Douglas


Dear Editors & readers, me again!

Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may? 

            This week’s theme is my unerring ability to say too much when attempting to complement someone (usually a woman.) On more than one occasion I have said

            “Oh Pam*, that’s a nice scarf.” (So far so good,) I would then add

            “I’m not saying the one you wore yesterday was horrid or anything like that!”

No one ever seemed too offended…I think they knew I meant well (& “knew what I was like”) as they laughed, chuckled or smiled. Another area of “social quicksand” for me involved hair dos. (You can probably guess what I’d say. I would say similar well-intentionedthings about someone’s earrings, brooch, coat, skirt or dress…with similar consequences!)

Attempting a complement when faced with more than one woman in a room presented a whole new set of foot in mouthopportunities, for example…

            “Good morning Polly*, I love the hair…very you!” I would then turn to another woman in the room & say something like…”yours is quite nice too Sally*…I’m not saying it’s worse than Polly’s or a bit rubbish or anything like that!”

Never a dull moment working alongside me!

I am also quite puzzled by the phrase…

“Quit while you’re ahead.”  Of course it should be… 

”Quit before you are even further behind!” Why also do we hear of (or describe) a narrowly avoided collision as a “Near miss”

Surely if something “nearly” misses…it actually “hits!”

            Carry on doing the good deeds, don’t fall off, stay safe & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile. Special greetings to “Scoraig correspondent” Jill & her colourful front line insights from the remotest part of a remote corner of the world X

Bide Cheerful noo

Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)

* Names changed to protect innocent bystanders…even if they are now hundreds of miles away!


Dear Eds,

Good morning on yet another perfect day. A bit of a breeze to keep the windmills whirring and enough sun to top up the water heater. So no Rayburn to light.

    The Man took the advantage of the good weather to climb onto the roof and mend the chimney. “ Couldn’t we ask someone younger to do that.  We’re quite rich at the moment with all that pension piling up!” I daren’t even hold the ladder because I can’t stop myself from telling him to be careful and I think all that worrying just makes people more accident prone.  Especially children.  So I have to go somewhere else and try not to expect a crash. All is well, you will be pleased to hear.  Chimney mended!

     The maidenly hens of last week are definitely not so maidenly.  One of them flew over the fence.  Their combs seem to be a bit pinker.  Eggs?  Well, no.  We’ll have to wait for them.

      In an effort to keep away predators, I have hung old CDs all around the fence.  They shine and flutter in the breeze and look rather pretty.  The Man is quite sniffy about my efforts and doubts they’ll do any good.

     On the way up to the hens, I noticed some clumps of primroses on the edge of the wood.  I think they are my all-time favourite spring flower especially when they are growing on a mossy bank at the side of a burn.

     Our old neighbour, a rather grumpy bachelor planted those primroses and they have spread over the years. He was an unusual mixture of hard and soft but we were all very fond of him.  A compulsive worker and wedded to poverty, he died in his workshop with a wire brush in his hand.

     One day, he was out with his old decrepit collie dog.  Meeting them on the track, The Man remarked, “Poor old dog, what will you do when she’s at the end of her life?”  “I’ll have her put down, but I’ll wait until she finishes her sack of dog-meal”.  This variety of dog meal was the very cheapest you could buy.  It consisted mainly of a brown dust like substance that became like concrete when mixed with water.  I imagined the dog, on hearing this conversation might peer into the sack and think, “only a few days to go”.  Yet we knew he loved his dog and when caught unawares, he would be talking to her while stroking her ears.

    The other day, I had too much sun and took to my bed feeling ill, shivering and being hot alternately, thinking the worst.  “These were the symptoms we’d been warned about, weren’t they?”  Suddenly, a bat flew into the room.  “It’s a sign”, I thought, “I’ve definitely got the virus,” The Man was summoned.  Watching his useless attempts trying to guide the bat out of the door with a broom, I couldn’t stop laughing.  We tried wafting the bat out with a bed cover held between us without success.  In the end The Man turned the light on in the porch and off in the bedroom and away zig- zagged the bat.

      I hope all is well and peaceful in sunny Ullapool and the gardens are blooming. 

Till next week then, Jill=


Dear Eds,


The spread of the ‘Coronavirus Virus’ had affected everyone worldwide including the businesses of Assynt.

Sadly, for the foreseeable future Gavain and Helen Simpson have had to close the Inverbank Newsagents thus local people, particularly the elderly are unable to receive newspapers and magazines, often an important contact with news, events and on-goings.

As part of a volunteer project Griogair MacAllein (Greg Allen) approached Bill Smith, Manager of the Assynt Centre and together have organized a regular delivery of newspapers and magazines for those subscribed freely to being on the list.

This has been in partnership with Parlett’s Newsagents and Rapson’s buses and the co-operation of their drivers.

Subscriptions are submitted to Parletts and each day the Rapson’s driver picks them up, arriving at Lochinver at 11.00am.

Griogair collects them off the bus and as soon after delivers them to the respective houses.   All monies are paid to the Assynt Centre.

This is the end of the second week (until the 19th April) there are 14 subscribers and growing.

This a valuable and, is a unique service to any Highland community.   Let us know if not.   Always good to share.   This may inspire others to do likewise.   Who knows in these strange times?

Forms for application are available at both ‘Costcutters’ at Inverpark and “Spar’ on the Main Street, Lochinver.    Any out of village applications will have to be collected in the village.

A huge thanks have to go to Parlett’s Newsagents, George Rapson’s buses and especially their respective drivers for collection.

As soon as the ‘isolation’ is lifted ‘Inverbank Newsagents’ will be back as normal.   This is only a temporary but important and appreciative {through feedback} venture during this time.

Griogair MacAllein




(Faces in the Fire) 

I’ve dreamt that often, when retired,

I’d see the faces in the fire

As saw in youth in cast iron stove

Before the electric to improve.

And now, at night, I watch the flames,

And contemplate the Covid shame

And former times of simpler fare,

As modern world regresses there.

The old folks homes, and wanderlust,

Dangers, progress thrust on us:

The push and rush holds no affection,

I’d rather face a stove reflection.


McJonagall Tuach, West Shore Street

April 19, 2020.




Weather for Friday 17th April – Thursday 23rd April

Max temp 20.5C =69F   min 2.4C = 36F

A brilliant week with wall to wall sunshine and no rain.
It was breezy at times with an Easterly wind which took the edge off things.

The outlook is less good with Friday still fine and sunny but Saturday becoming more overcast and cooler. On Sunday it looks like rain and the pattern for the rest of the week is rain then dry from Tuesday, but more cloud and generally cooler. 



Creative writing at the Macphail Centre

WRITING ASSIGNMENT  4  by Stephen Keeler

Perhaps it’s the lockdown: I’ve started getting letters again – real letters, handwritten, in envelopes, with stamps. A recent correspondent noted how ‘having real writing paper throws me back to starting with ‘Dear … ’’  

Here are a few ‘creative’ subjects for letter-writing:

  • Write a letter to the first person who lived in your house.
  • Writer a thank-you letter.
  • Write a letter you should have written thirty years ago.
  • Write a letter to the Ullapool News.
  • Write a letter to someone you’ve always been too shy to write to.
  • Write a letter to your favourite character in fiction. Then write the reply.
  • Write a letter to someone in a poem.
  • If you can, find William Carlos Williams’ poem This is Just to Say, and write a reply.

Consider whether to use comedy, outrage, sympathy, humility, flamboyance, irreverence, a sense of intrigue, apology … in your approach to the subject(s) you choose. Be aware of the differences, if any, between writing a letter on your computer and writing one on ‘real writing paper’. Perhaps you’ll even send the letter you write? Have fun!


Activity sheets from the Forestry Commission to bring the outdoors in for youngsters

If you are running out of ideas to keep younger children occupied during lockdown, then Forestry and Land Scotland may have something that could help.

FLS has created a series of activity sheets for younger children that will help to keep them entertained – and away from a screen - for a while.  As well as some nature themed colouring sheets, they can also puzzle their way through a bee maze or, for older children, tackle a woodland related word search. 

Sarah Price, design manager for FLS, said;

“With so many people working from home and children not going to school, family life under COVID lockdown is a bit hectic for many people.

“But young imaginations still need feeding, arty hands need things to do and energy needs to be burned off, so we thought we’d help by providing some resources that – with the addition of some crayons and pencils – should keep younger children busy for a while.

“Our activity sheets are a fun way for younger children to be creative and to learn and, by helping them to focus on the natural environment, are also a great way to bring nature’s calming and relaxing influence in to the living room.

“We hope to be able to add new sheets regularly so that there will be new challenges and activities to look forward to.”

The sheets can be found in the Kids Activities section under 'Learn', listed at the top of the home page.


Scottish  Crofting Federation

Survey highlights crofters’ Covid-19 concerns

The responses from a survey put out to crofters by the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) reveal access to cash-flow, labour, contractors, supplies and veterinary care as the main problems faced due to Covid-19.

“We have had a very good response to our survey“, said Yvonne White, chair of the crofters’ representative body. “The statistics are stark with over a third of the respondents citing cash-flow as a major worry. Many crofters supply food and accommodation to the local market. Abattoirs have not been taking private kills, hotels and restaurants are closed and on-croft accommodation bookings are cancelled. This would normally be the time of year to start seeing money coming back in after the long winter, but it is not materialising.”

One respondent said, “The closure of some abattoirs to private kills is a death knell to us small producers. If abattoirs stay open, they cannot exclude private kills as cumulatively the resulting produce will be a substantial contribution to food supplies in rural areas.”

Another, who supplied hotels and restaurants, said, “I am giving away all egg production free as there is such a reduced market for the eggs here; 250 hens, the alternative is to throw them away when they go out of date.”

Asked what would help, they said financial support is lacking, is confusing, or crofts fall between the cracks. For example, the loss of holiday-let income is a devastating interruption to cash-flow but as this is not the main occupation there is no help. “There needs to be a greater understanding by the government of the variety of crofting enterprises, as well as seasonality - we need to make enough money during the summer to last through the winter.”

Additionally, the shortage of help on the croft from contractors, volunteers, students and family was cited by well over a third of respondents. As one crofter put it, “It is difficult to get contractors and materials to complete work. Urgent fencing work can't be done.” It is apparent that contractors are heeding the government directive – ‘stay at home’ – despite food production being part of our critical national infrastructure. Many respondents said they feel the government advice is not clear enough – many people could be carrying on with croft work without posing any threat but feel they cannot due to the message going out that any movement is restricted.

“The survey is still live” said Ms White, “and is open to all crofters, whether SCF members or not. We need the information to feed into Scottish Government policy as we attempt to keep up Scottish food production in this very difficult time. It is obvious that crofters are suffering financial hardship due to the situation; as a gesture SCF will not be applying the annual inflationary subscription increase next week, but crofters still need concessions and targeted help from government if we are to survive this.”



Two newborn Mishmi takin calves at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park have been named after characters from Game of Thrones.

Continuing a tradition which started six years ago, keepers at the wildlife conservation charity have named the two male calves Mountain and Drogo.

Debbie Barclay, hoofstock keeper at the park and species coordinator for Mishmi takin across Europe, said, “Both of our youngsters seem to be doing well. Mountain was born to mum Rosie on 7 March and Drogo a week later on 15 March to mum Chimi."

"We started naming our Mishmi takin calves after Game of Thrones characters six years ago because lots of the keepers were fans of the show. In the past we’ve named calves Khaleesi, Brienne, Tyrion and Arya."

Mishmi takin are one of the largest goat-antelope species in the world and it is believed the legend of the golden fleece was inspired by their golden coat. Native to India, Myanmar and China, the wild population is decreasing due to habitat loss, competition with other species and hunting.  Debbie added, "The park is currently closed to the public but the keepers are still here giving all our amazing animals the best of care.

“Being closed means we have no visitor income and it costs £6,000 to feed our animals each month. We’re incredibly grateful to our members, supporters and everyone who has donated at this difficult time. Anyone who wants to help look after our animals and save species in the wild can find out how on our website.”


Isle Martin Trust Notice

Please be aware that under the current corona virus measures we wil not be running a ferry to the island or taking any bookings until further notice.  Regular visiitors to the island will know that the Isle Martin Trust Summer Ferry usually starts in April, and Easter is normally a time for us to welcome people to the island for volunteer days and family gatherings.  When government restrictions are lifted and the advice on staying at home changes the IMT Board will consider when to start running the ferry again.  In the meantime work on plans for the future continues.  Volunteers are still very important and we look forward to welcoming your valuable input on the island in the future.  If you feel you have any skills or ideas to share from the comfort of your own home such as historical research, helping with administration tasks or just sharing your happy memories of the island on Facebook thenm please get in touch with Ailsa by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wishing you and your family health and strength - Isle Martin Trust ,April 2020


Friday 17 April Issue Web Only



Latest local news, Covid-19 updates, helplines and much more: Lochbroom radio 96.8 FM and 102.2 FM weekdays 9.03 am and around 4.42pm.

Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:

The Gairloch and District Times already has a digital version of their fortnightly paper, which, for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, will be free of charge:



Creative writing at the Macphail Centre


by Stephen Keeler

No one sends postcards any more but most of us like to receive them.  The US writer, Garrison Keillor has suggested that the best length for a postcard greeting is 50 words, ‘...if you write tiny and sneak over into the address side to squeeze in a hundred, the grace is gone and the result is not a poem but notes for a letter you don’t have time to write...’.


Think of someone you know in a foreign country and write them a 50-word postcard.


Write a (50-word) Postcard from Lochdown

Writing tip: Keep your text ‘tight’ but be prepared to write a little more than 50 words and then go back, editing it down until you get to 50. Be ruthless, or as you’ll often hear on creative writing courses, be prepared to ‘kill your darlings’.

Other subjects to consider writing about:   A Postcard to the Future  |  A Postcard from 2019  |  A Postcard to my Parents  |  A Postcard  from the Future  |  A Postcard to the Lover You Never Were  |  A Postcard to Lochbroom

Reference: Garrison Keillor, We Are Still Married (Faber and Faber, 1989).



A Virtual Walk in the Countryside

Whilst you are not able to get out and about to your usual haunts at the moment, the Forestry Commission wanted to reassure you that their forests and land will be here to welcome you back when it’s safe to do so.  Meantime here’s a view from their image library…

All pictures - ©FLS and courtesy of Colin Leslie

There will be 4 more pics to enjoy next week!






Good morning, fellow Loch Broomers,

These strange times are good for bringing out qualities we didn’t know we had or forgotten about. Perhaps with good reason.

   One seems to be the need for, and the pleasure in, being thrifty. The clearing out of the backs of fridges, the depths of freezers. Mm, that dubious looking tin going a bit rusty. Evaporated milk. Use by 2014. I’ll try it out on the cat. She seems ok. Rather pleased, in fact.

       I found a brown lumpy packet in freezer. Not anything I want to eat right now. Maybe never. “Why don’t you ever label them”, said The Man. “Because I never forget what’s in them”, I say, squinting at the contents of the packet. Looks like kidney. More for the cat! Turns out to be boletus that The Man collected last Autumn. Lost its appeal now. Mustn’t waste it!

     Been through the thrifty phase. I’m bored with it now. I have a longing to spend a few days in a hotel somewhere. Doesn’t much matter where it is as long as I don’t have to do any cooking. Surprise meals and crispy sheets laundered by someone else. Just a fantasy. But I could let the thrift go enough to order a packet of chocolate ginger biscuits from the Laide shop. Then I find a bag hanging from our gate. Yet another gift from one of our kind neighbours. Swiss chard, a small bag of salad and best of all, some asparagus grown in their polytunnel. Perhaps I don’t need to go to a hotel after all.

  After the first flushes of enthusiasm for connection, sometimes from people I haven’t contacted for years, I feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. Not that I don’t still answer the phone with anticipation. But all this “Just click onto this app and your life will from here on, be infinitely better”. Soon we’ll have one on how to put on your socks, clean your teeth. We already have one on how to wash our hands.

  Yesterday, we tried to connect with The Jolly Codgers, a group of our octogenarian friends. To describe the meeting as Zoom might be a bit of a misnomer. Shuffle more like.

   We had arranged our chairs, perched on a pile of toppling cushions and put on jollier clothes. We smiled into the screen (gosh, does my throat really look like that)

    No connection. “Just click onto.....” they all shouted at once. Time for me to go. Full of impotent fury at the world that’s trying to control my life.

      Saved from it all by the delivery of our new hens. They ventured out from their cardboard box like pale maidens, peering this way and that at their new world. Foxes and pine martens. Please keep away! We thought we had outfoxed you last time. And those cute little roe deer that creep out of the woodland, leave our seedlings alone.

     The sun is shining today. Little Loch Broom sparkles. Time for the daily walk. I hope I meet someone on the track.

      I wish I knew a good way to end my letters like Wooly Paul does. I miss his cheery salutations!




Dear Editors & readers, me again!

Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may?

Honor Blackman has sadly passed away, known to many as “P G” from Bond film “Goldfinger.” I prefer to remember her as Cathy Gale alongside Patrick Macnee’s John Steed in the Avengers (a PhD & with a less sexist role…& name!).  Tim Brooke Taylor also left us, A “Goodie” alongside Graeme Garden & Bill Oddie & panellist on Radio 4’s “antidote to panel games.” 

I must both commend & recommend the Morefield Motel & Davey’s Deli ca Sea for their superb home delivery services & DM Seafoods for a range of supplies in addition to very nice fish. The village again pulls together to help all in need (I see it as helping the local economy & a jolly good excuse for indulgence too!)

I yesterday spent (& like to spend) time on a “stroll” (more “roll” than stroll in Ermintrude* my trusty chair!) I have 4 strolls of varying lengths depending on the weather & my fatigue level: 

Stroll 1 is around our garden (nice views with a slight “bogged down risk” after too much highland liquid sunshine!) 

Stroll 2 is down to the wee pier & along it until I’m “over the loch” (Izzy has as yet resisted the “just go a little bit further” prompt when I’m close to the end!) 

Stroll 3 takes me/us to the big “proper pier” (I like to look at the fishing boats & say hello to the drivers & crews…now that’s a “proper” job!) I see gulls (sea gulls…never one to miss a pun!) sometimes a seal & love the character expressed in the boat’s names, ages, paint jobs, rust & nets/buckets & deck detritus. 

Stroll 4 takes me all the way along West Shore St to the point (Izzy says it takes me ages to get to the point…in a different context!) I like to say a safe distance hello to any folk I meet…we are still social creatures after all!     I didn’t mention Revd. Heidi once this week, apart from just then!

            Carry on doing the good deeds, don’t fall off/stay safe & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile…

*Ermintrude II in truth as Ermintrude (the 1st) sadly went the way of all things. I tend to call her “Ermintwo”…& her, never a dull moment in our house!

Bide Cheerful noo

Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)



Dear Sir or Madam,  

I hope this finds you well and healthy. Due to the current situation artists are finding alternative creative methods and ideas.  

Thus I would like to present my newest project: ’Shoe Dances in pandemic times’.  

This is an initiative in which I invite you to create a shoe dance with your favourite shoes, film it and send the footage (approx. 20 - 30 sec) back to me. 

So far I have received shoe dances and films from all over the world, from people of all ages, mobile or less mobile, from artists and amateurs. Dancing is done in the respective domestic environment or its closest surrounding area out due to current situation and necessity of avoiding personal contacts and not to leave one's home. 

The intention of the initiative is to distract both the dancers and the audience from the worries caused by the current situation, to give them joy and a smile. Furthermore this initiative is thought of as a sign of global togetherness and solidarity.  

The shoe dances are published daily in the stories of Elisabeth Schilling's social media channels and are also edited as a film which is published on my website and updated weekly.

With kind regards, 

Elisabeth Schilling 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">



Scottish Water engineers are helping customers who report tap water issues by carrying out virtual inspections using the messaging platform WhatsApp to avoid the need for home visits during the Covid-19 response

Workers in the utility’s Field Response team based around the country are using WhatsApp video calls instead of face-to-face visits to customers’ properties to resolve issues such as loss of normal water supply or low water pressure.

Using the WhatsApp video calls, where practicable and with the customer’s agreement, means we can help customers who may be self-isolating with Covid-19 symptoms while avoiding face-to-face contact and so reduce the risk of contamination of customers and field staff.

The Field Response team respond to customers’ needs after liaising with colleagues in our call centre at Fairmilehead, Edinburgh who take calls from customers across the country. All of our more than 100 call centre staff are using platforms which enable them to work from home during the coronavirus epidemic.

One example of how well the WhatsApp video calls are working was when one of Scottish Water’s Network Service Operator (NSOs) contacted a customer in Fife regarding discoloured water which was milky or cloudy. 

On phoning the customer, the NSO carried out a video call using WhatsApp. On the video call the NSO was able to determine which tap in their property the customer was concerned about and then asked the customer to carry out a simple test by placing a glass of water under the tap to identify if the milky, cloudy effect would disappear from the bottom to the top of a glass. 

By carrying this out, the NSO was able to identify that the cause was air in the water supply and give advice on why this may have happened. The NSO advised the customer that it might take a couple of days to clear and that we would contact them later to check if this was the case. Two days later, the NSO contacted the customer and the water was back to normal and the customer was delighted with the service and advice.

Using WhatsApp also benefits Scottish Water because some of its staff are among those self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms, or live with someone who has, but are still able to work.

In addition, the move will help the utility gain an understanding of how it could use virtual appointments moving forward, with the benefits in terms of carbon footprint reduction that they will deliver.


Tarbat Historic Trust/Tarbat Discovery Centre – 

Tarbat’s War Stories Online Project 

funded by Museums Galleries Scotland

The Tarbat Historic Trust is delighted to announce a new project, the ‘Tarbat War Stories’ online to help us to acknowledge the very special anniversary of 75 years since the end of the Second World War.

Like all local museums Tarbat Discovery Centre has not been able to open as expected this Easter. But we still hope to share our planned exhibition ‘Tarbat’s War Stories’ online! As part of our Tarbat’s War Effort project funded by Museums Galleries Scotland we will take the work already completed behind the scenes and create a digital exhibition, featuring local wartime stories and experiences. This will help us to acknowledge this very special anniversary of 75 years since the end of the Second World War. We feel that this story is more relevant than ever, as we face a new challenge in our communities that has drawn parallels with the restrictions and community spirit of the wartime era.

This is an incredibly challenging time for the Centre, as we will not be able to generate the income from visitors and shop sales that we need to look after the historic building and collections in our care. If you can, please consider making a donation through our website We know that everyone is going through a difficult time, so we hugely appreciate anything, and everything received.

Want to help us raise even more for FREE? Well, now you can just by shopping via Give As You Live Online! 

Tarbat Historic Trust has signed up to Give As You Live to help us to raise much needed funds during COVID-19 closure.  It is absolutely FREE to you.  All you need to do is visit Tarbat Discovery Centre and choose from over 4,200 top stores including John Lewis & Partners, Expedia and Marks & Spencer via Give as you Live Online, they'll turn a percentage of your spend into free funds for us! 

Simply sign up, search for the retailer and start shopping. It's that simple!

Lynne McKeggie, Curator at Tarbat Discovery Centre.



Up, doon, the length of our land -

Aberfeldy, Ardnamurchan -

There’s uplift, sharing; pass the baton!

A frontline forming, hand to fierce hand.

Shopfront workers, doon the aisle;

New-era queues metres apart.

The chemist’s prescription warms the heart.

Delivery folk vanish, ghost a smile.

Volunteers at the local food bank…

Shy half-moon in a clear Scots’ sky.

We leave with tins, groceries, goodbyes…

Clap in the gloaming when we say our Thanks.

And the sky greets with stars

And the bold birds sing

As we clink in our links in the Kindness line;

Holding absent hands for Auld Lang Syne.

Makar’s poem for essential workers

Scotland's Makar Jackie Kay has written a poem to thank essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The national poet hails chemists, volunteers, carers, delivery workers, and those in the food supply chain.

The Makar said she wrote Essential as a “huge, big, thank you” to those working on the front line.

A video of the Makar reading the poem was broadcast on Scottish Government social media channels on Thursday 16 April.



COVID-19 - Equipment Donations

NHS Highland has been overwhelmed by the support it has received from the local community from both companies and individuals. We are also incredibly grateful for the offers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other gifts that have been made over recent weeks. 

As an organisation we have to ensure that any PPE issued to staff in NHS Highland is in line with national guidance and standards to ensure that our staff are provided with the highest standards of protection. 

With this in mind we have set up a page on our website where any donations of this kind can be catalogued in a central location. The influx of support and offers of help we have been receiving has been truly amazing. 

Thank you again for all your support. 

If you would like to get in touch about the possibility of donating equipment please go to:




Weather for Friday 10th to Thursday 16th April

Max temp 17.7C =64F min temp -0.5C = 31F

A generally settled week with little rain. We had some on Saturday and Wednesday but it didn’t amount to much although on Wednesday the mizzle was miserable enough.  It was dark with it.
Winds were generally light. Sunshine-wise Monday and Tuesday had the best of it and we seemed to be in a pattern of dull starts with sunnier weather later.  The outlook is good with fine settled weather well into next week.

Let’s hope so! 

Keep that glass half full and try to spot the silver linings.

Stay safe.    SB



Suggestions of things to do....




Friday 10 April Issue Web Only








Ullapool Community Trust (UCT) for information and links to Covid-19 related support:


The Gairloch and District Times already has a digital version of their fortnightly paper, which, for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, will be free of charge:




All churches are closed in our area

***Services are available online via the Lochbroom and Coigach Free Church YouTube channel. 

***The Church of Scotland will offer a live service on their Facebook page

***Scottish Episcopal Church: Every Sunday at 11am the SEC will broadcast a service via its social media and YouTube

Easter Praise on the Pier – 12th April

With regret and apologies, 

Easter Praise on the Pier will not be taking place this Easter.




It is with great sadness that we are not going to be able to open Dundonnell Garden under Scotland Garden Schemes on April 16th, this is to keep in line with Government guidelines.

See the Diary page for the next Open Garden days for Dundonnell and 2 Durnamuck but please bear in mind that these may need to be updated in line with guidelines.




CalMac moves to card or phone only payment

West coast ferry operator CalMac has stopped taking cash on its ferries and ports in response to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Health Organisation has advised against cash handling, and CalMac stopped taking cash payments on Saturday 28 March. Travellers, who should only be making essential journeys on the ferries in line with strict Government guidelines, can either pay by card, or Apple Pay or Google Pay where accepted.”

Managing Director Robbie Drummond said: “We have introduced this measure in response to concerns raised by our staff and passengers.

“We are asking customers, who still require to use our ferries for essential travel, to ensure they have a valid debit or credit card with them as we will no longer handle cash. This is in line with most other organisations who have also stopped taking cash.”

CalMac donates on-board offerings to food banks

With the shut down of its retail outlets due to the Covid-19 crisis, CalMac has decided to donate food that’s shortly going out of date to local food banks.

Staff from the west coast ferry operator are currently sifting stock and anything with a sell by date within three months will be donated.

The type of goods being handed over will include soft drinks, confectionary, crisps, cakes and biscuits. 

CalMac has retail outlets on 14 of its larger vessels. 

‘Given that we are not in position to determine when our on-board retail outlets will be open again, it makes sense to find a use for products that will be out of date soon, other wise they would just end up being thrown out,’ said CalMac’s Head of Sales, Kurt Hart.

‘It is better someone gets the benefit of these products before they are past their sell by date.’ 

CalMac is currently identifying food banks up and down the west coast to start making donations.

So far donations have been made to Ardrossan, Greenock, Oban, Barra and Stornoway





“Chatter from the Rock”

Good morning. 

Yesterday, it being a sunny day, I decided to change the furniture around in the granny porch to let the sun in onto the sofa. So I heaved the sofa around and, of course, that ruckled up the rug. That stopped the door from opening to let the sun in. I heaved up the sofa again and tried to disappear some of the rug under the sofa. Phew! It’s a good place to sit down and write and it feels as if I have created a new space.

      As I was struggling with the sofa, the Buddhist saying came to me, “Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water.”

    I wrote this sort of poem which clearly illustrates that I am on the early section of the road to enlightenment

    “I think I’ll have another cup of tea”.  “Me too”

       The teabag pot is empty, I’ll get some more from the larder. While I’m doing that, I’ll put that tea towel in the laundry and, oh yes, I haven’t lit the Rayburn yet. While I’m going out, I’ll empty the ash into the bucket outside.

       The Man is standing outside, brushing wood shavings off his socks with a scrubbing brush. As I empty the ash, I observe that the wind is in the east. Ash and wood shavings are blowing into the house.

      The kitchen floor is sprinkled with ash. I replace the ash can. The kettle is now whistling. I go to make the tea. No teabags. I make the tea, light the Rayburn.

       The Man sits with his cup of tea, taking pictures of railway tickets, cut in half (as instructed). Filling in a form. To claim money back for our cancelled trip to the Netherlands where he was going to sell a viola.

       The viola hangs on the wall. We drink our tea. Rayburn crackles on.

       Having written this, it made me laugh rather than being irritated.

     The next day, though, I had a spoilt brat’s tantrum. I raged and cried. Not for any particular reason. Just everything. The Man took it all calmly. He has witnessed many similar scenes over the years. He just handed me some nasturtiums in a blue jug. I suspect that many people share those moments of rage and sadness underneath it all. It seems as if it is the small things that lead me out. Nasturtiums or a bumble bee on the flowering currant.

      The Man has been very busy getting the garden ready for the seedlings he has grown in the greenhouse. We sat there sipping coffee, sun streaming in admiring the basil and coriander. We are eating seedlings as a garnish to the wokked sprouted lentils, chick peas and mung beans. Tasty with a splash of soy sauce.

      There’s a lot to see and hear on the daily walk and some of us have greeted neighbours with what I believe is a Moslem gesture. Hand on heart then extending the open hand towards the other person. I rather like it.

      I happened to tune into Gardeners Question Time last week. Full of comfort and humour. Not that I am a gardener but I can sound quite knowledgeable. A question was asked about what plants we could grow for toilet paper. Maybe Elephant ears someone said, those silvery plants with soft leaves. Then another member of the panel suggested dockans and offered a root to anyone who wants it.

      We’d be happy to send one of ours if there are any takers.

      On that note, I’ll sign off. Jill



Dear Editors & readers, me again!

Hello Discerning Ullapudlians (& Jill,) more “look on the brighter side” observations on contemporary life from me if I may? 

It’s been a few weeks since I shared my views/memories with you all. A few weeks in which the good light of humanity has shone brightly locally, nationally & internationally! I have lost count of the number of times I have been offered help with everything from supplies to tidying the garden (now I think of it, “S to T” is not exactly “A to Z”…but you know what I mean! If I change it to “Essential” supplies, that at least covers half the alphabet!) I nominate Heidi for a new category of Nobel Prize…being a lovely Minister with a heart, outlook, faith & attitude as colourful as her church & outfits! I am reminded of how behavioural minorities (usually bad ones) stand out more than is good for us. I know many bikers (I was one myself a few decades ago!) I also know many football fans/supporters of different clubs. All of my old biker mates (with names like “Animal”, “Skidge”, “Bazzer”, “Mog” & even an English giant named “Jock!”) who were all jolly nice, did charity work (Jock even had his hair & beard shaved off for BBC Children in Need…enough hair to stuff 3 sofas) & never “duffed anyone up.” I have known genuine football supporters who were as far from Hooliganism as I am from Cygnus X1 (6,200 light years!) It is the same with the few folk who are not following the distance/isolation guidelines…a tiny but conspicuous minority! Those folk with significant Birthdays, anniversaries & those bereaved can take comfort in the fact that when this behind us all belated & much needed contact/celebration/commemorations can take place. In the meantime they can also take comfort from the 99% +, like the bikers & football fans that are absolutely on their side…the good side! 

As a geologist I have a different concept of & attitude towards & definition of “a long time.” This whole lockdown will not last long…I promise! 

Carry on doing the good deeds, don’t fall off & notice when you are recipients of the same & smile…

Bide Cheerful noo

Yours Sincerely WoolyPaul (again)


A letter from former teacher with Ullapool Dance, Alice Wilkins

Hello from Wonder Dance! 

We hope you are keeping well and safe during these uncertain times. 

Attached is our April newsletter for you :)  

Please feel free to share with anyone who you think may be interested!

With more of us having extra time at home, now could be the perfect time to have a dance: keep fit, have fun, and feel connected!

Have a wonder-dance day!



Made In Ullapool

Hello, this is a quick note to say as per guidance, Made In Ullapool closed its doors 

on Tuesday 24th March. This will continue until we hear differently. It has been a really

difficult thing for us to do, as our whole purpose is to support those in our community,

who struggle or have lives, that for whatever reason need an extra bit of support. 

Hopefully we will be back candle making in the near future, but for now thank you for all of your past support, MIU would be nothing without this amazing community, in fact I would go as far as to say you wouldn’t find another resource like we have anywhere else. This year we are ten years old (celebration plans have been scuppered) we are self-supporting, (almost, the pier are very good to us) and we have an amazing shop, a wonderful standalone product, and our doors are open to 

anyone who wants to come in and join us, I think this is an outstanding achievement, so in these worrying times, just take a minute or two to Reflect on MIU, and give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back and say…… We did that. 

Thank you from all of us, keep safe and lots of love x




Creative writing at the Macphail Centre


by Stephen Keeler

Like almost everyone else, I’ve been reorganising cupboards recently. It passes the time and can be quite therapeutic, and it’s amazing what you find. I came across a box of gloriously camp-looking lead (real lead!) soldiers I’d bought in Moscow nearly forty years ago. I’d thought they were lost when I moved to Ullapool a decade ago. They were a delightful find.


If you have recently re-discovered something you thought you’d lost – jewellery, an heirloom, old toys – write a short story (300 words or so) in which this object is central to the plot.

If you prefer to write poetry, write a poem (10-14 lines) about the significance of this object.


Write a short piece of prose about something of great sentimental value to you which you lost long ago.

Other subjects to consider writing about:  Old Toys | My First Bike | Grandma’s Fiddle    



The Future is Digital: Free Online Workshops

Scottish Book Trust opens for real-life story submissions 

Scottish Book Trust has launched this year’s ‘Your Stories’ national campaign, appealing for members of the public to share real life stories around the theme of future. People all over the country are encouraged to submit, even if they have never written before. A selection of stories will be included in a free book that will be given out during Book Week Scotland in November. Submissions can be made in English, Scots, or Gaelic in any form – story, poem, comic strip, play or letter – of up to 1,000 words.

For many of us, the future represents opportunity and gives us hope that we can make positive change for our loved ones, our communities or ourselves. So whether you’re an activist desperate to transform tomorrow, an eternal optimist setting another target for the year ahead or just a dreamer wondering what the next chapter in your life will be, Scottish Book Trust wants your story.

For those unsure how to start, Scottish Book Trust will be running free, digital workshops with some of Scotland's most exciting writers:

  • Not the Booker Prize awardee Kirstin Innes, whose upcoming novel Scabby Queen (Fourth Estate) will be released later this year
  • New Writer Awardee and Robert Louis Stevenson fellow Malachy Tallack, author of The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate)
  • Saltire Award nominated author Alison Irvine, author of This Road is Red (Luath Press)
  • Next Chapter Awardee Samina Chaudry

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust said:

"2020 is a landmark year, and future is the perfect theme to reflect the ongoing social and cultural change happening right now. We want to hear your story: even if you've never written about yourself before. Hopes, fears, dreams – Scottish Book Trust welcomes them all."

Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: 

“Everyone has a story to tell, and the Gaelic Books Council hopes that people throughout the country will take the opportunity to reflect on the theme “Future” – in verse, in prose or in any other way they choose – and that there will be plenty of Gaelic stories among this year’s submissions.”

The digital nature of the workshops will allow the writers to engage with an audience no matter their location, allowing the opportunity to be as inclusive as possible. Given the current climate, online workshops can provide the public with a safe space to be creative, supporting positive mental health and wellbeing. 

Each workshop has limited space so sign up is essential, and the writers will explore different prompts and methods for story writing. They will all also contribute their own stories about future for the book. 

Visit Scottish Book Trust’s website for more information. 

Poet and performer Marjorie Lotfi Gill will also provide writing prompts every Tuesday to help tackle the future theme. These will be made available through Scottish Book Trust’s website and social media. 

Tam Clark, poet and writer, will provide his own interpretation of Future in Scots. Scottish Book Trust is also working in partnership with the Gaelic Books Council: author Cairistìona Stone and poet Griogar MacThòmais will provide their own stories for the campaign.

Future is open for submissions until Friday 5 June 2020.

Submissions can be made online or via post to: 

Future, FAO Gordon Connelly, Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.


Scotland’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results show milder winter helps small garden birds

House sparrow remains at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings, visiting 70% of Scottish gardens throughout the weekend.

  • Over 33 thousand people across the Scotland spent an hour watching the birds that visit their garden or outdoor space as part of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, counting nearly half a million birds in total.
  • For many people, garden birds remain an important link to nature and RSPB Scotland will be helping people to share their wildlife encounters and provide ideas for things you can do for wildlife close to home.

The latest results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch have revealed smaller birds such as long-tailed tits and wrens were seen in greater numbers in gardens across the country than in 2019 thanks to the milder winter.

Now in its 41st year, the Big Garden Birdwatch is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of birds that visit their garden helping the RSPB build up a picture of how they are doing. This year, almost half a million people across the country took part counting nearly 8 million birds. 

The event held over the last weekend in January revealed the house sparrow held on to its number one spot whilst there was an increase in garden sightings of long-tailed tits, and wrens, two of the smallest species to visit our gardens. Reports of long-tailed tits in gardens in Scotland were up by 21%, and wrens up by 14% in 2020 compared to 2019. The rise in the number of long-tailed tits boosted them into the top 10 for Scotland, being seen in 20% of gardens. The milder weather we experienced at the start of the year appears to have helped populations of these species as small birds are more susceptible to spells of cold weather. 

Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted who is thriving and who is struggling in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. By 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979, it came in at 23 in the rankings this year, seen in just 9% of gardens across Scotland.

For a full round-up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results and to see which birds were visiting gardens in different parts of Scotland, visit  


Additional information